Sang Wu, MD, FCAP, is on a mission to form stronger bonds between at-risk women and health care resources. Partnering with the Vietnamese Health Association of North Texas and the Vietnamese American Medical Association, he has a plan for a patient navigator program that can help a vulnerable population get the care they need, when they need it.
“My plan is to introduce a patient navigator, or ‘community health worker,’ who can personally engage individuals and families lacking access to health care,” Dr. Wu said. “This person could share knowledge of specific programs, advocate for community support, and overall make people feel empowered to manage their health.”
Dr. Wu led the first See, Test & Treat program in Dallas, and he saw firsthand how many women forego cervical and breast cancer screenings because of cultural and financial barriers.
“My plan is to introduce a patient navigator, or ‘community health worker,’ who can personally engage individuals and families lacking access to health care.”
– Sang Wu, MD, FCAP
Vietnamese women face cervical cancer incidence and morbidity rates five times higher than other ethnicities. An effective patient navigator can make the crucial difference to underserved women and their families.
“Anything you can do to represent and stand up for the underserved communities in Dallas is a life-saving operation,” Dr. Wu said. “And even for smaller matters of healthy living and preventive measures, one reliable voice can have an immense effect.”
Dr. Wu submitted his proposal to the CAP Foundation and received the Gene and Jean Herbek Humanitarian Award to kick-start his mission. The funding will go toward paying a new part-time worker who will hold workshops and seminars in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
“If this community health worker is as successful as we hope, we could share our plan with other cities in Texas and even nationwide,” Dr. Wu said. “It would be a huge victory if neighborhoods of different ethnicities and cultures could each have their own lifeline to the world of health care.”
The second project Dr. Wu will lead with award funding involves the creation and publication of a children’s activity book to entertain and educate children who accompany their mothers to See, Test & Treat programs. The book will include puzzles, activities, and coloring pages that explain what a pathologist does, how they find disease, and how they work together with other doctors.
“Every See, Test & Treat event is a great opportunity to build relationships with the community, and that can include children too,” Dr. Wu said. “Who knows—a child flipping through this book could grow up to become a pathologist someday.”