Distance Education to Engage Alaska's Community Health Aides in Cancer Control is consistent with the purpose of PAR-12-049 to support innovative education programs that reduce the burden of cancer and improve the quality of life of cancer patients. Cancer is the leading cause of death among Alaska Native people who suffer greater cancer incidence and mortality rates compared to other U.S. populations. Over half of Alaska Native people live in 178 rural communities not on a road system and receive care from Alaska's specially trained, village-based Community Health Aides and Community Health Practitioners (CHA/Ps). Providing CHA/Ps with timely, medically-accurate, cancer education at the community level is a critical component in improving cancer control. Equipped with culturally respectful distance delivered cancer education, CHA/Ps will be in an ideal position to support community members to modify behavioral risk factors, advocate for and schedule appropriate screening exams, and identify cancer warning signs so as to refer patients for early diagnosis and treatment. Principles of adult learning theory, Indigenous knowledge, and Popular Education will inform the development of 11 asynchronous learning modules which will be available on the CHAP website for anyone to increase their cancer knowledge as well as be included in the 12 week distance learning course. As part of the 1.5 hour weekly synchronous learning portion participants will synthesize and apply their cancer knowledge to create a 2-3 minute personal cancer-related health message in the form of a digital story to support community outreach efforts. The dynamic process of developing, implementing, and evaluating this multidimensional interactive online learning course is informed by a socio- cultural approach to cancer education. Within this approach, cultural values, beliefs and behaviors are affirmed as a place of wisdom and resilience, and built upon to provide context and meaning for health information.
Our Aims are 1: Develop a model for culturally respectful distance learning with and for Alaska Native people. 2: Create an online cancer education course for Alaska's CHA/Ps based upon the in-person 'Understanding Cancer'curriculum. 3: Deliver a culturally respectful cancer education course with Alaska's CHA/Ps through distance learning. and 4: Evaluate online cancer education and how participation affects CHA/Ps'cancer knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. Using a mixed methods approach evaluation data will be collected during a precourse needs assessment, end-of-course written evaluation, 2-3 month post course interview, and 5-6 month internet survey. Outcome measures will assess computer familiarity, comfort with talking about cancer, cancer knowledge, attitudes, and cancer risk reduction behaviors for self, with family, and in patient care practices. Providing culturally respectful distance education developed with and for CHA/Ps has the potential to be a cost-effective and sustainable pathway for disseminating much needed cancer information to reduce the burden of cancer among Alaska Native people.
Cancer is the leading cause of death among Alaska Native people who suffer greater cancer incidence and mortality rates compared to other U.S. populations. Over half of Alaska Native people live in 178 rural communities not on a road system who receive care from Alaska's specially trained, village-based Community Health Aides and Community Health Practitioners (CHA/Ps) who have requested to learn more about cancer for themselves and the people in their communities. This proposal will develop, implement, and evaluate culturally respectful, medically-accurate online distance education to provide CHA/Ps with increased cancer knowledge and confidence to support community members to modify behavioral risk factors, advocate and schedule recommended cancer screening exams, and identify cancer warning signs to refer for early diagnosis and treatment.