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A Case for University Teaching and Engagement: A Culturally Relevant Intervention to Educate Young African-American Women about Breast Cancer


  • Jonathan N. Livingston,

  • Nina P. Smith,

  • Natia S. Hamilton,

  • Tuere A. Bowles,

  • Pamela P. Martin,

  • Monica T. Leach,

  • Shakiera Causey,

  • Karen Dacons-Brock,

  • Sherry Eaton,

  • Crystal W. Cannon,

  • Desanbra A. Franklin


According to The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) there is a new, more aggressive form of breast cancer among young African-American women. Because mammograms are not suggested for women until age 40 and young African-American women are increasingly being diagnosed, a more innovative technique is warranted. The present study utilized the expertise of scientists and professors from a biomedical center, the Department of Psychology, Health and Education, and the Department of Theater at a historically Black college or university (HBCU) to examine the impact of dramatic presentations in increasing awareness and pro-social health related behavior related to breast cancer among African-American women. One hundred and thirty-six African-American women between 18 and 39 years old participated in the present study. Researchers employed a retrospective pre–post test design to assess the impact of theater on young women's knowledge and propensity for pro-social health related behaviors. Paired sample t-test revealed significant increases in knowledge about breast cancer and mammograms. Participants reported an increase in intentions to change behavior and also wanted to become more involved in efforts to reduce breast cancer in the African-American community.