Providing the best evidence available is important to insuring rural health needs are being addressed. A best practice program delivering breast cancer education and screening to rural women was designed to address the three key barriers to healthy barriers of cost, distance and fear. The purpose of this article is to describe findings and implications of a 10 year profile of this best practice program. From 2001 to 2011 over 2300 rural women received breast health education and no cost mammography through this project. Data collected in conjunction with the delivery of this best practice program was compared to national indicator data for a ten year period. When reviewing demographic data, the project women were less educated than the women identified in the CDC data. The project and CDC data were similar in terms of poverty and being uninsured. Although there were similarities in the two groups (project and CDC) in terms of poverty and lack of insurance, in the last reported year the project women achieved higher levels of mammography within the past two years even though they were overall less educated. While such comparisons are useful, of equal significance are the differences that can occur among data sets and the importance of including multiple data sets. Forward movement in the overall national healthcare goals can best be enhanced through the dissemination of grassroots data such as found in this project. Such data have the potential to be substantially useful when planning primary and secondary care outreach programs consistent with the national healthcare agenda. Nurses have the opportunity and responsibility to advocate in the political arena and to be ever cognizant of national healthy behavior goals and objectives. Nurses have a key role in assuring optimum health care is available regardless of one’s rurality.
Keywords: Rural health, Breast cancer, Cancer screening, Access to healthcare, Health policy
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