The University of Illinois Cancer Center has been tapped by Pfizer to exclusively pilot, the Spanish version of a support system app for cancer survivors and their families called LivingWithTM. Pfizer Oncology is motivated to enhance this powerful tool to better fit the needs of the Latinx cancer survivor community. The app is designed to help manage some of the daily challenges faced by people living with cancer and can for example share tasks like picking up groceries to getting transportation or an appointment, with friends and family. The app also keeps track of medical records and mood with emojis so patients can easily share this information to share with health care providers.
The University of Illinois Cancer Center will be pilot testing the Spanish version for cultural appropriateness through a 10 week program aimed at engaging 20 cancer patients and caregivers in 5 discussion groups to provide meaningful feedback on this resource.
Since the Latinx population is known to build strong connections with their support network, it is important to evaluate how well the application maintains the cultural dynamics of those relationships. Additionally, research indicates that minority populations have difficulty accessing health information due to language concerns, transportation difficulties, health care costs, and other restrictive barriers (Arora et al, 2016). Latinx patients particularly have less knowledge and access to care and are limited with establishing a medical home due to these challenges (Arora et al, 2016 & Meneses et al, 2018). Online technologies are becoming rising platforms used to obtain health-related knowledge and opinions. The Latinx population encounters problems with leveraging mobile technology to find support and information online. This is because the vast majority of mobile resources and tools that are used to disseminate health information do not account for language and cultural barriers. Latinx patients with chronic diseases who need consistent guided support for treatment management and adherence would benefit greatly from culturally appropriate mobile health resources to increase health-related quality of life.
This project, under the direction of Karriem Watson, DHSc, MS, MPH, University of Illinois Cancer Center’s Co-Director of the Office of Community Engaged Research and Implementation Science, includes Lisa Aponte-Soto, PhD, MHA, and Kimberly Silva, an MPH student in the Division of Community Health Sciences at the School of Public Health. Specifically, the research team will assess the LivingWithTM application’s capacity to be useful to Spanish speaking communities affected by cancer.