Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research


Salud en Mis Manos (SEMM).

Banner image for Salud en Mis Manos (SEMM)

Project Overview

A breast and cervical cancer prevention program across 31 counties in the Texas Gulf Coast. This community health worker delivered program is designed for Latinas 18 years and older and includes a class and follow-up health coach navigation calls.

Partner Website

Participant Website

Need: Compared with urban and non-Hispanic whites, Latinas experience higher rates of cervical cancer incidence and mortality and lower breast cancer survival, largely due to psychosocial, structural and geographic barriers limiting motivation and access to prevention services. In Texas, rural and Latina populations are disproportionately uninsured. In 2016, compared to insured women, fewer uninsured women reported receiving one dose of HPV vaccine (25.2% vs. 39.8%). Compared to insured women in Texas, uninsured women have lower Pap test rates (58.4% vs. 74.4%) and mammography screening (42.2% vs. 71.7%). Delayed follow-up of abnormal results further compound disparities. Previous research shows barriers to screening and vaccination among Latinas include language, lack of time, knowledge, fear of finding cancer, cost and low insurance rates. Rural women face added geographic barriers to healthcare and have less employment, leading to lower income and healthcare coverage.

Overall Project Strategy: To address Latinas’ complex barriers to breast and cervical (B&C) cancer screening and HPV vaccination, we propose expanding Salud en Mis Manos (SEMM), a comprehensive population- and clinic- based B&C cancer prevention program focused on service delivery that bundles community health worker (CHW)-delivered outreach, education, health coaching and navigation and service delivery targeting Latinas in rural and medically underserved areas (MUAs). A comprehensive approach is needed to reach and increase completion of cancer prevention services for this highly vulnerable population. SEMM is an effective CHW- and health coach navigator (HCN)-delivered B&C cancer screening and HPV vaccination program proven to significantly increase B&C screening in a randomized trial led by Dr. Savas: mammogram=39.9% SEMM vs. 20.3% comparison group (p<.001); Pap=55.8% SEMM vs. 27.4% comparison group (p<.001). This expansion will continue to serve vulnerable women in the originally approved 14 county area, while leveraging community and clinic collaborations with South Coastal Area Health Education Center (AHEC), Lower Rio Grande Valley AHEC, South Texas Family Planning & Health Corporation, Rural Economic Assistance League, Inc., Coastal Plains Community Center & Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation partnership, Access Esperanza Clinics and Legacy Community Health to expand service delivery to 31 counties in Texas South and Gulf Coast regions (TS&GC). In addition, we will expand SEMM services by integrating mobile HPV vaccination services in community settings for adult Latinas in HPV vaccination catch-up age groups. Our community and clinic partners have long-standing collaborative experience delivering clinical services to rural and MUA residents in this region.

Specific Goals: The overall project goal is to reduce B&C cancer in Latinas residing in rural and MUAs by promoting American Cancer Society screening and HPV vaccination guidelines among women (18+ yrs) using the evidence-based SEMM program integrated with clinics. Specific goals: 1) Expand SEMM outreach to reach 90,000 Latinas residing in rural and MUA communities in 31 counties in TS&GC regions with CHWs, social marketing and media campaign; 2) Deliver SEMM education sessions to 6,800 people in coordination with the existing and expanded network of SEMM partners targeting rural and MUA residents; 3) Deliver phone navigation to 4,900 women; 4) Deliver 3,567 B&C screening and HPV vaccination services in collaboration with safety net service providers and with CPRIT funding for services (10% budget); 5) Evaluate program reach, implementation and effect on B&C cancer screening and HPV vaccination outcomes and conduct comprehensive process evaluation.

Innovation: This expansion program builds on the evidence-based SEMM, benefitting from the extensive network of community- and clinic-based partnerships that we will leverage to serve the target communities. In addition, we will incorporate effective social media marketing strategies developed in prior intervention research studies to strengthen program reach and increase program awareness among hard-to-reach populations. Integration of SEMM with community- and clinic-based CHW programs reflects an innovative and comprehensive approach to ensuring underserved rural communities in TS&GC regions receive clinical services.

Significance and Impact: The proposed program significance is the focus on increasing screening and HPV vaccination to reduce B&C cancer, an important cancer-related public health problem in Texas MUAs. We propose an innovative yet proven strategy for reaching, screening and vaccinating uninsured and low-income Latinas, integrating a comprehensive network of established and new community and clinic partnerships with broad reach and expertise delivering culturally relevant comprehensive evidence-based cancer education to motivate utilization of low cost/free B&C clinical services among medically underserved populations.

Funded by CPRIT.

Project Details

Lara Savas, PhD - Principal Investigator

Paula M. Cuccaro, PhD - Co-Investigator

Melissa Valerio, PhD - Co-Investigator

Maria E. Fernandez, PhD - Co-Investigator

Anabel Rodriguez, PhD - Co-Investigator

In the News

Univision Houston (Channel 45)
SEMM Story Friday, January 20, 2017
'Salud en mis manos', el programa que promueve la detección temprana del cáncer cervical y de mama

Project Staff

Project personnel are listed below. Click on a name to view the individual profile.

Thumbnail image for Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention Program Provides Outreach, Education, and Assistance to Latinas

Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention Program Provides Outreach, Education, and Assistance to Latinas

CHPPR’s Salud en Mis Manos (SEMM) project is a breast cancer early detection and cervical cancer prevention program designed to assist Latinas with knowledge and strategies to take their health in their hands and prevent and detect these cancers early.

Thumbnail image for Houston Nonprofit ProSalud Promotes Health Awareness and Healthcare Access Among Hispanic Immigrants

Houston Nonprofit ProSalud Promotes Health Awareness and Healthcare Access Among Hispanic Immigrants

Houston nonprofit and CHPPR partner ProSalud has spent more than 20 years providing health education and healthcare access to Hispanic Immigrant communities in Houston, Texas. ProSalud trains Community Health Workers (CHWs) to serve as a bridge between these communities and the health care system by improving health awareness and access to local resources using print materials, presentations, health screenings, community events and other venues.