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J Soc Serv Res. 2011;37(2):113-123.

Proactive screening for health needs in United Way's 2-1-1 information and referral service.

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  • 1Health Communication Research Laboratory and Center for Cultural Cancer Communication, George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis, , Kay Archer, United Way 2-1-1 Missouri.


Cancer disproportionately affects the underserved. United Way 2-1-1 is an information and referral system that links underserved populations to community services. This study explores the feasibility of integrating proactive screening and referral to health services into 2-1-1. A cancer risk assessment was administered to callers (n=297), measuring their need for six cancer control services. A subset of respondents was randomized to receive generic or tailored referrals to needed services. Nearly all participants (85%) needed at least one of the services. Those who received tailored referrals were more likely to make appointments. Future research will explore approaches to address and eliminate health disparities through 2-1-1.

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