Creating a Workplace Culture of Preventive Health: Process and Outcomes of the Colon Cancer-Free Zone at Virginia Cooperative Extension
Rafie, Carlin L.
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Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the USA, yet is highly preventable and detectable at an early stage through screening. Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) implemented a worksite colon cancer awareness program to increase colorectal cancer screening rates and preventive lifestyle behaviors among its employees. The Colon Cancer-Free Zone program is designed using best practice principles of worksite health programs and includes information sessions covering the topics of colorectal cancer, screening guidelines, insurance coverage, and preventive lifestyle behaviors. It is conducted in a campaign format that includes a strategic communication strategy targeting relevant screening barriers and facilitators, peer champions, and incentives. The program was implemented with VCE employees statewide utilizing a web-based system for the information sessions, and resulted in broad participation, a significant increase in screening self-efficacy (4.15 +/- 0.64 vs 3.81 +/- 0.76, rho = 0.006), changes in diet and physical activity (50% and 40% of participants, respectively), and a 20.6% increase in the employee colorectal cancer screening rate. A Colon Cancer-Free Zone toolkit was developed for use by Extension Agents to implement the program at worksites in their service communities.