OHSU

Jessica Gregg, M.D., Ph.D.

03/11/2010 - When the day labor site in Portland opens at 7 a.m., there are usually workers waiting outside the chain link fence that borders the former parking lot. Jessica Gregg, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, is frequently also there.

Jessica Gregg, M.D., Ph.D.

When the day labor site in Portland opens at 7 a.m., there are usually workers waiting outside the chain link fence that borders the former parking lot. Jessica Gregg, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, is frequently also there. The site – managed by VOZ, a community group – benefits workers, many whom are Latino men, by providing bilingual staff, establishing a minimum hourly wage, and assisting workers who get hurt on the job or aren't paid. So why is Dr. Gregg there to collect information about cervical cancer screening? 

Data show Latina women in the U.S. are less likely to be screened for cervical cancer and more likely to die from what is a preventable cancer. Dr. Gregg is conducting a study to gather information about women's and men's beliefs related to the Pap smear (the initial screening mechanism for cervical cancer). With that information, Dr. Gregg will design a culturally-appropriate intervention to increase screening rates. 

Dr. Gregg received funding from the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute (OCTRI), the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute and the Medical Research Foundation for the study. "The most important thing I learned from partnerships with VOZ and with the other generous community organizations is that the issues that I consider important aren't necessarily the issues that the Latino community finds particularly worrisome. And unless we address those community-identified concerns, these men, women and their children may remain largely disenfranchised and disengaged from even the most well-meaning public health efforts," said Dr. Gregg.  

This approach helps to explain why community groups agreed to work with Dr. Gregg. While the scope of the current project is limited to cervical cancer screening, it has allowed Dr. Gregg to establish and maintain working relationships with VOZ, Familias en Acción and other influential Latino community groups.

Photo: Jessica Gregg at the day labor site next to Ignacio Paramo, the site director (to her right).