Preventative Health Screenings in the Cambodian Community




Raines-Milenkov, Amy
Chor, Holy


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Purpose: This research explores the knowledge and receipt of preventive health screenings among Cambodian immigrants in the United States. Cambodians entered the United States as refugees after a group of Communists named Khmer Rouge proceeded to rule the country with extraordinary brutality. An estimated 1.7 million Cambodian people died from executions, hunger, disease, injuries, and coerced labor, and exposure to elements. Cambodian immigrants face poverty, limited education, and health disparities in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, related risk factors, and mental health, including post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, which influence their ability to practice prevention and obtain treatment. Identification of the preventative health practices of this community may help healthcare providers better understand the needs of Cambodian immigrant and refugee populations in the United States. Methods: Surveys that assessed demographic, health insurance, health seeking behaviors, trauma, tobacco and smoking, alcohol use, cancer screening history and vaccinations, health education interest, and women’s health were collected from Cambodian men and women who are the age 21 and above. 49 surveys were completed from participants at faith-based gatherings, and other community events within the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Results: Along with other data, the results revealed that about 67% of individuals have had frightening experiences in their lives during which their personal safety or someone else’s safety was threatened, 32% of participants did not know their Hepatitis B status, and 6% have a positive Hepatitis B status. Moreover, 92% of participants indicated interest in participating in a program offered in Khmer that educates them about preventative health screenings. Limitations do exist because this focus group has a small sample size and is not representative of all Cambodian immigrant and refugee communities in the United States. However, themes have matched existing literature. Conclusions: Screening rates in this population near or exceed Healthy People 2020 Goals for screening (HP 2020: Colonoscopy 70.5%, Pap test 93%, mammogram 81.1%). However, Hepatitis B vaccination and knowledge could be improved. Providing culturally tailored education on Hepatitis B, vaccinations, and mental health could lead to increased cancer screening uptake, vaccination completion, and mental health awareness among this population.