By Lordelyn del Rosario

The UCSF Vietnamese Community Health Promotion Project, part of the UCSF Division of General Internal Medicine recently received a grant of more than $290,000 from the Centers for Disease Control to develop and implement a program to reduce cervical cancer in Vietnamese women in Santa Clara County.
The award is part of the CDC’s new initiative “Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH 2010)”- a national project that targets six health priority areas with the goal of eliminating, by the year 2010, disparities in health status experienced by racial and ethnic minority populations.
“Vietnamese-American women have the highest cervical cancer incidence rate of any ethnic group in the United States,” according to Stephen McPhee, MD, UCSF professor of medicine and principal investigator of the UCSF project.  “The rate of cervical cancer in this population is five times the rate of Caucasian women.”
The UCSF Vietnamese Community Health Promotion Project will collaborate with nine organizations in Santa Clara County to form the REACH coalition.  Over the next year, the coalition, which includes community based organizations, provider organizations, and the county health department, will develop a plan for a community outreach program that provides affordable and culturally-appropriate pap smear screening services for Vietnamese women.  If the CDC approves the plan, they will fund UCSF to implement the plan over the following four years. In addition, the coalition will advocate for cervical cancer diagnostic and treatment services for this population. 
“With regular pap smear screenings, we have the potential to dramatically reduce the incidence of cervical cancer in this population.  To develop an effective plan to make this happen, however, it is essential that we work carefully with this coalition of leading agencies in the Santa Clara County Vietnamese community,” said McPhee. 
The REACH coalition will begin meeting in November 1999.