Improving Mammography Screening Percentages in Overdue Women: A Tribal Medical Track Quality Improvement Project

Gunnar Phillips, Krista Schumacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: In Cherokee County, mammography screening percentages are below the overall state and national averages. This is problematic, as adequate, and timely mammograms can detect breast cancer at an earlier stage. This quality improvement (QI) project, conducted during a four-week clinical rotation, aimed to increase screening among overdue patients at a Cherokee Nation family medicine clinic and to assess the feasibility of conducting QI studies during short rotations.

Methods: During scheduled in-clinic appointments with eligible patients, the medical student (and first author) assigned to the patient’s physician used motivational interviewing (MI) to encourage women to schedule mammograms. Patients’ electronic health records (EHRs) were then reviewed on December 20, 2023 to see if a completed mammogram appointment had been recorded.

Results: Only two patients seen during the project timeframe were overdue for screening, and one completed screening by the project cutoff.

Conclusion: Targeted motivational interviewing during scheduled in-clinic appointments may increase on-time mammograms. The project demonstrated the feasibility of conducting QI projects during short rotations, but also identified challenges of reaching targeted patients who may or may not visit the clinic during the rotation.
Original languageAmerican English
Article number220
Number of pages6
JournalOklahoma State Medical Proceedings
Issue number1
StatePublished - 6 May 2024


  • mammography
  • breast cancer
  • preventive screening
  • tribal medicine
  • quality improvement
  • medical education


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