CHR Team Recognized with SCOPY Award

Image of the 2022 SCOPY Award with portrait photos of Jennifer Rivelli and Jamie Thompson

By Jill Pope, Senior Technical Writer & Editor

Since winning this award for their work with Hispanic patients, the team has continued to develop culturally tailored messages to promote cancer screening in other communities.

In 2022, a team at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research (CHR) was recognized with the American College of Gastroenterology’s SCOPY Award for outstanding work to prevent colorectal cancer (CRC) through community engagement, education, and awareness.

The SCOPY for Best Comprehensive Digital Production was awarded to a team led by Gloria Coronado, PhD, Distinguished Investigator at CHR. It went to Jamie Thompson, Senior Research Associate, and Jennifer Rivelli, Behavior Assessment and Change Department Manager. They won for materials they created with patients at AltaMed Health Services, a federally qualified health center in Southern California. Since winning the award last year, the CHR team has continued to develop culturally tailored messages to promote CRC screening in other communities.

Tailoring Materials for Hispanic Patients

In the U.S., CRC is the second-most diagnosed cancer for Hispanic men, and the third-most diagnosed cancer for Hispanic women. Further, Hispanic adults are more likely to be diagnosed with CRC at later stages, compared to adults who are non-Hispanic White.

In 2021, Rivelli and Thompson led a community-based participatory research process called Boot Camp Translation with Spanish-speaking patients at AltaMed Health Services. The process brings researchers together with community members to translate health care recommendations—in this case regarding colonoscopy following abnormal fecal testing—into messages tailored for specific communities. Rivelli and Thompson held video calls with patients and gathered their ideas and feedback about what kind of educational materials, messages, and formats would reach this community and encourage them to get a colonoscopy after an abnormal at-home test.

Says Rivelli, “People are very willing to share their experience, I think because the way we approach it, we're here to learn from you, learn your story, learn your experience, and together, we build materials. So, I think they really feel heard and validated.” Thompson adds, “We share information about how CRC affects people and then take time to listen to the audience, learn their barriers and what motivates them to get screened, and then develop materials and messaging that reflect their voices.”

Seeing Materials Move into Patients’ Hands

The AltaMed patients suggested that messages be delivered in a variety of formats—through clinic lobbies, patient navigators, and direct text messages. And, says Rivelli, “When we've done this with the Hispanic community, they're really focused on visuals and statistics and family as a motivator. So, we really are paying attention to who our audience is, what language they prefer, what images they prefer. What motivators need to be included in these messages?”

The team gathered their notes from these sessions, came up with ideas for different kinds of patient education materials, and worked with CHR's graphic designers and a video production company to bring the materials to life. The award-winning materials they developed are three bilingual fact sheets (see one example here) and two short bilingual videos (in Spanish and in English). The materials are already being shared with AltaMed’s patients.

“AltaMed is now texting the ‘What is a Colonoscopy?’ video to patients who get a colonoscopy referral. And for the video on how to do a FIT test, they text that out to patients as well. It's very satisfying to see that implementation so quickly and to know that it was also created from AltaMed’s own patients,” says Thompson. Adds Rivelli, “We get a ton of requests for our materials and modifying them to get specific clinic logos on them. You can see our work being used in real time, right now.”

Meeting Communities Where They Are

Recently, the CHR team visited Atlanta, Georgia to partner with congregants of the African Methodist Episcopal church to create tailored faith-based CRC messages for the Black community. CRC is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death for Black people in the U.S., but only 65% of Black adults are up to date with screening.

Meeting with members in their own church was very helpful, says Thompson. “The setting really matters. Doing the work in the church allowed people to be comfortable and speak freely—and to ultimately be their authentic selves.” With input from church members, the team created fact sheets, pamphlets to hand out at Sunday services, and message cards with personal stories that can be shared on a social platform or in person. She adds, “They have a huge virtual audience of upwards of 5,000 members in the Atlanta area.”

Next up, the team will work with representatives from the American Indian and Alaska Native communities on messages to promote CRC screening. Their first visit will be with tribal communities in the Great Plains area (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa) served by the Great Plains Tribal Leaders’ Health Board based in Rapid City, South Dakota, this spring. In August, the team will meet with Pacific Northwest tribal communities on the Oregon coast.

One additional benefit the team has seen: Participants become empowered by learning what they can do to prevent colon cancer. Says Rivelli, “After a Boot Camp Translation session, everyone goes home, goes to work, goes to church and shares everything they learned. They get really excited about it. I think it's that missing piece of information, and they’re just bursting at the seams to share it with people in their community.”

Looking Ahead

The team looks forward to continuing this work with other communities, as well expanding to other topic areas beyond colorectal cancer. In addition, Rivelli and Thompson plan to write a paper describing their research methods—they have modified the Boot Camp Translation process that was originally described by its creators, and they are eager to share those changes with the field.

Follow Us