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Prog Community Health Partnersh. 2014 Summer;8(2):169-79. doi: 10.1353/cpr.2014.0019.

Trust yet verify: physicians as trusted sources of health information on HPV for black women in socioeconomically marginalized populations.



Human papilloma virus (HPV) infection is highest among Black women and women of low socio economic position (SEP). These groups face inequities in access to health information on HPV.


Our study sought to understand key information channels for delivering health information regarding HPV and the HPV vaccine to Black women of low SEP in Boston, Massachusetts. We anticipated that, owing to a legacy of experiences of discrimination, Black women of low SEP would prefer information from trusted and accessible sources, including friends, family, and community agencies, rather than clinical providers.


We conducted a qualitative analysis using focus groups. We conducted five focus groups among 25 women in Boston, Massachusetts.


Contrary to what we anticipated, we found that women in all of the focus groups preferred to receive information from a physician or health center. Participants preferred to receive print materials they could triangulate with other sources. Notably, study participants had high access to care.


Our study suggests that physicians are trusted and preferred sources of information on HPV for Black women of low SEP in Boston. Our data underscore an important avenue for intervention: to improve dissemination of HPV-related information through physicians, including outreach in community settings.

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