UAMS Researchers Find Black, Hispanic Women More Likely than White Women to Get Routine Mammograms

By David Wise

Previous studies have documented that Black and Hispanic women have been less likely than white women to receive routine mammograms. However, UAMS researchers found that this gap has closed over time. Researchers attributed this to a variety of factors, including increased outreach and increased access to community health workers (CHWs) who can help women find health care services. While strides have been made in closing the gap among racial and ethnic minority women, women living in poverty and those living in rural areas are still less likely to receive routine mammograms, researchers found.

“Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, so it’s important to have a routine mammogram,” said Rachelle Narcisse, an associate professor in the UAMS Office of Community Health & Research. “Community health workers can help women navigate the health care system, thereby promoting initial mammogram screening, timely follow-up care, and routine screening adherence for high-risk populations.”

CHWs are trusted members of their community who work to help people connect to and access health and social services. They help community members navigate their health care, apply for insurance or Medicaid and access other vital resources.

One out of every eight U.S. women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, and Black women have a higher chance than white women of developing breast cancer before the age of 40, according to the American Cancer Society. Hispanic women have lower rates of breast cancer than Black and white women in the U.S. However, due to the challenge of receiving timely care, Hispanic women are more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer than white women, according to the American Cancer Society.

Arkansas is among the 15 U.S. states with the lowest mammogram rates, according to the National Cancer Institute, with approximately 82% of Black women and 74% of white women having received routine mammograms in 2020.

Pearl McElfish, Ph.D., director of UAMS Community Health & Research and senior author of “Factors Associated with Breast Cancer Screening Services Use Among Women in the United States: An Application of the Andersen’s Behavioral Model of Health Services Use,” said the team is “continuing to research factors that affect cancer screening rates among women with the goal to increase preventive screening for cancer and other chronic conditions in Arkansas.”

To connect with a community health worker, visit

The UAMS Northwest Regional Campus includes 329 medical, pharmacy, nursing and health professions students, 66 medical and pharmacy residents, and two sports medicine fellows. The campus has nine clinics including a student-led clinic, orthopaedics and sports medicine, and physical, occupational and speech therapy. Faculty conduct research to reduce health disparities.

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,240 students, 913 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 11,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.

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