Original article| Volume 24, ISSUE 3, e327-e333, May 2014

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Knowledge and Perceptions of Breast Health Among Free Clinic Patients

Published:April 11, 2014DOI:



      Breast cancer is a significant women's health problem in the United States. However, critical information on specific populations is still lacking. In particular, it is not well known how free clinic patients perceive breast health. The purpose of this study was to assess knowledge and perceptions of breast health among uninsured women utilizing a free clinic that serves as a safety net for the underserved.


      A self-administrated survey that included knowledge and perceptions of breast health was conducted for female free clinic patients aged 40 or older in fall 2012. There were 146 participants. The participants were classified into three groups for comparison; U.S. citizen English speakers, non-U.S. citizen English speakers, and Spanish speakers.


      Spanish speakers had the highest average score on the knowledge of breast health, whereas the non-U.S. citizen English speakers had the lowest average score. Free clinic patients may consider breast health screening if recommended by health care providers. The non-U.S. citizen English speakers and Spanish speakers were more likely to have negative perceptions of breast health compared with the U.S. citizen English speakers.


      Promoting knowledge about breast health is important for free clinics. Recommendation by a health care provider is a key to increasing attendance at health education programs and breast health screening. Non-U.S. citizens and non-English speakers would need culturally competent interventions. Free clinics have limited human and financial resources. Such characteristics of free clinics should be considered for practice implementations.
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      Akiko Kamimura, PhD, MSW, MA, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Utah. Her current research interests include minority and immigrant health, intimate partner violence, health disparities, and global health.


      Nancy Christensen is formerly a resource development coordinator for the Maliheh Free Clinic.


      Wenjing Mo, MS, is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Utah.


      Jeanie Ashby, MA, is Executive Director for the Maliheh Free Clinic.


      Justine J. Reel, PhD, LPC, CC-AASP, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Education at the University of Utah. Her research interests include eating disorder and obesity prevention, body image concerns, and physical activity promotion and exercise education.