Motivational interviewing (MI) is a counseling approach that attempts to help clients investigate and resolve ambivalence about the pros and cons to implementing a positive behavior change in their lives.  Developed by clinical psychologists, William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick, this person-centered therapeutic set of techniques has been employed by myriad health professionals to improve health outcomes in a variety of contexts.  MI is recognized as an important skill set for community health workers, patient navigators and promotores de salud attempting to improve the lives of the patients and clients with whom they work. Through the 2018 Cancer Fund grant, the Alliance offered three basic MI modules, but learned that most participants had insufficient cancer screening background.

The 2019 Colorado Cancer Fund awarded the Alliance a small grant, “Improving Patient Navigators’ Advanced Motivational Interviewing skills to reduce barriers affecting cancer screening among underserved rural community members.” During September and October 2019, the Alliance created and implemented modifications to five validated cancer screening modules for breast, cervical, colorectal, lung and prostate. Each module included: anatomy, facts and fallacies, basic screening guidelines, impact on Colorado and rural communities, unique risks for specific populations, cancer screening rates when data were available, and strategies that can be integrated to increase screening rates for specific cancer sites. The modules averaged 60 minutes and 100 participants completed these webinars.

The 2019 grant allowed Dr. Rebecca Richey, a motivational interviewing expert, to create and conduct two advanced MI modules. Potential participants completed an eligibility test to confirm they possessed basic MI skills. Module 4 educated on change rulers, decisional matrix and asking permission, and Module 5 focused on normalizing and paradoxical statements, and appealing to patient/client values. Each module had a one-hour duration; 64 navigators completed advanced MI 4 and 23 completed advanced MI 5.

The 187 total participants who took part in the seven education webinars were from the geographic region(s):

Screenable cancers

  • Southwest (43%)
  • Southeast (29%)
  • Front Range (21%)

Motivational Interviewing

  • Front Range (53%)
  • Northwest (12%)
  • Southwest (12%)
  • Southeast (12%)

The five screenable cancer modules from 2019 Cancer Fund grant will be available on the Alliance’s website summer 2020. The three basic MI modules from the 2018 Cancer fund Grant plus the two Advanced MI modules from the 2019 grant also will be available on the website in 2020. Stay tuned for future updates promoting participation in these webinars later this year!