The American Cancer Society has awarded a two-year, $144,000 grant to UC Davis researchers to develop and test a Spanish-language educational program for Latino/a cancer patients and their caregivers. The program is designed to help monolingual, Spanish-speaking patients improve
their coping skills and quality of life.
"In any chronic illness, stress increases," said Fred Meyers, professor and chair of Internal Medicine at UC Davis and principal investigator for the new grant. "If we can improve people's coping strategies and problem-solving skills, we can enhance their quality of life."
Meyers and his co-investigators will enroll 60 monolingual Spanish-speaking cancer patients in the study. They will be evaluated for health literacy, the meaning their illness has for them, their immigration experiences, religion, social stressors and social support networks. Educators will then provide the participants with culturally tailored coaching in Spanish using a problem-solving approach known as COPE (Creativity, Optimism, Planning and Expert information).
‘'We hope to be able to cut through perceptual barriers and lift veils of social and cultural misunderstanding, improve patients' abilities to communicate with their physicians and other health- care providers, and alleviate stress experienced by both cancer patients and their families," Meyers said.