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Your Environment. Your Health.

Continuing Medical Education as Tool to Communicate Research

Kami Silk, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin, Madison

A new study by NIEHS grantees described how health communication research can identify gaps in knowledge and lead to better communication between healthcare providers and patients about breast cancer and the environment. They developed a continuing medical education (CME) training to communicate research results to health practitioners and bridge the gap between research and practice.

Health communication researchers worked with grantees in the NIEHS Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP) to design a CME training for healthcare providers that will help them integrate into everyday practice findings about environmental factors and breast cancer risk. The healthcare providers studied did not routinely discuss breast cancer risk factors with patients. However, when these providers learned that puberty can be a vulnerable time for breast cells that are exposed to certain chemicals, they acknowledged that it is important to address breast cancer with their patients. The team learned more about what the CME training should address by working with caregivers of young children regarding gaps in understanding about breast cancer and the environment and how the caregivers would prefer to receive this information.

The team used these findings to create an online CME training that describes links between the environment and breast cancer, why girls are more vulnerable to exposures during critical windows of susceptibility such as puberty, how to reduce exposures, and communication strategies for healthcare providers to best share the relevant information with patients.

Citation: Silk KJ, Walling B, Totzkay D, Mulroy M, Smith SW, Quaderer T, Boumis J, Thomas B. 2019. Continuing medical education as a translational science opportunity for health communication researchers: the BCERP model. Health Commun; doi: 10.1080/10410236.2019.1625003 [Online 5 June 2019].

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