Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Epidemiology (Medicine)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Erin Kobetz - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Deborah Loer-Martin - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

Isildinha Reis - Committee Member

Fourth Committee Member

Lora Fleming - Committee Member


Community Health Centers (CHCs) are the nation's primary care safety-net for vulnerable populations, including racial/ethnic minorities, migrant workers and the uninsured. Women from these populations contribute disproportionately to cervical cancer morbidity and mortality, largely due to underutilization of Pap smear screening. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to identify factors that may be related to Pap smear screening compliance among a large cohort of women seen at 10 Community Health Centers in Florida. Building upon an ecologic framework, this research went beyond patient-level risk factors, which are generally well-known, and explored provider and organizational variables that may also be associated with Pap smear screening compliance in this population. Ten CHCs in Florida met study inclusion criteria of having at least four complete years of claims and patient registration data stored in an Electronic Health Record (HER) data system maintained at HCN. EHR data were merged with provider gender obtained from a credentialing database and with data from a short organizational survey administered to the Medical Directors of the CHCs. Descriptive statistics, chi-squared analysis, and multiple logistic regression were used to examine Pap smear screening rates for women (n=71,234) in relation to a variety of patient, provider and organizational variables. Younger, Hispanic and insured women were most likely to have had a screening in the past three years compared to older, white non- Hispanic and uninsured women. Among providers, patients who received care from female providers generally had higher Pap smear compliance rates, but these findings differed by patient insurance and race/ethnicity group. Organizational factors that appeared to be associated with higher Pap compliance rates included diffusion of an EHR system, implementation of "Care Model Principals", and having recently implemented a Pap smear screening process improvement project. Results demonstrated that multi-level factors, operating on the patient, provider and organizational levels, contribute to Pap smear compliance among women seen at CHCs. Results suggested that improving screening compliance within this population of women requires interventions that are ecologic in scope, incorporate targeted education to high-risk women and providers, and include organizational strategies that can optimize care delivery at point-of-care.


Pap Smear; Community Health Centers; Cancer Screening; Quality Care; Electronic Health Records