"Every Woman Matters" Summary
The importance of screening for the early detection of health conditions is considered to be a priority in the U.S. medicine (Plescia et al., 2012). It is suggested that timely detection of health conditions can reduce the burden of cancer and other diseases in the country (Lynge et al., 2012). Over the past years, health care providers were involved in different screening programs. Some of them, for example Black Corals and Screening New Yorkers to Save Lives, have proven to be effective, while others, for instance Every Woman Matters, is considered to be less productive. While comparing between these public health initiatives, the paper concludes that the effectiveness of a screening program depends on a range of factors. The most significant include accurate planning, feasibility testing, community involvement, and a strong leadership with an ability to promote a sense of teamwork.
Every Woman Matters
Cancer has become a huge burden for the U.S. public health and economy. It is thus logical that health care experts emphasize the importance of screening for the early detection of the disease. Every Woman Matters is among screening programs aimed at the early detection of breast and cervical cancer in low-income women (Backer et al., 2005). The program was launched in 1990 in Nebraska, and it is part of CDC’s initiative aimed to promote women’s health through regular screenings.In order to examine the effectiveness of the initiative, Backer et al (2005) conducted a multimethod case study that included seven primary care practices operating in Nebraska. While examining the process of change, Backer et al (2005) concluded that the effectiveness of the Every Woman Matters initiative was hindered by a range of factors that were common to all practices. Examining these factors is important to get an idea of an effective screening program.
The first, and evidently the most important, factor that was identified by Backer et al (2005) is a “champion” (p. 406) whose objective is to promote and emphasize the importance of the project and to motivate other members of the team. In order to prove that a strong leader is the main driving force of positive changes, Backer et al (2005) refer to a context where team members were not enthusiastic about practice changes because of their past experiences with the leader’s inconsistent follow through.The second factor that was noted during the study is the lack of resources to promote changes. Most primary care practices that were examined by Backer et al (2005) were very small and targeted at underserviced rural or minority communities. Although many of their leaders were enthusiastic about practice changes, they lacked resources to facilitate them. In a privately owned solo practice in a rural area, Backer et al (2005) met a physician who “had many ideas for change” (p. 405). However, the physician’s enthusiasm did not prevent the practice from being “stagnant, unfocused, and disorganized” (Backer et al., 2005, p. 405).