Asian / Pacific Island Nursing Journal

Author ORCID Identifier

Catherine Pravisay-Malmstadt, BS, ORCID iD https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0563-7620

Dr. Connie Kim Yen Nguyen-Truong ORCID iD is https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3933-5532

Corresponding Author

Catherine Pravisay-Malmstadt BS


Short Introduction:

Asian American women, including Laotian American women (LAW) have the lowest rate of being up to date with cervical cancer (CC) screenings at 75% compared to other ethnic groups. This rate is substantially lower than the national objective of 93%. Only 62.3% of LAW reported having family or friends who encouraged them to get CC screening. There is a critical need for current research surrounding CC screening among LAW in the United States’ Pacific Northwest. An essential first step of engagement includes collaboration with Laotian American cultural community leaders (CCLs) and is necessary in order to gain entrée into the Laotian American community prior to conducting research. The essential engagement step included trust and rapport building, conveying respectful and authentic intentions on a shared mission of learning about perceptions and understanding of CC screening in LAW, and time needed for building connections and multiple conversations with CCLs in the community. The Laotian American CCLs expressed to our academic project team that the community is a private ethnic group wary of those from outside the community and particularly researchers. Research evidence points to the importance of meaningful stakeholder engagement in scholarly work. Academic and community stakeholders’ interactions may impact the engagement, co-learning, project continuity, and cultural immersion experience. The purpose of this brief article is to describe the first essential engagement step of relationship building between the academic project team and CCLs to gain entrée to the Laotian American community regarding a sensitive topic on gynecologic health. The project team used the Plus/Delta method to evaluate the engagement process. Three main themes were identified: elders helping to bridge the project team from academia to the Laotian Women Association, a shared mission to respond to a community identified need, and humanizing the connections through stories. Prior to conducting research with this community, researchers should consider authentically engaging CCLs as stakeholders to add richness to the project purpose and to show respect for the people.

Declaration of Conflicting Interests

No conflicts of interest exist.


The authors are appreciative of funding that supported in part the project. Catherine Pravisay-Malmstadt, BS, was awarded the Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine Student Scholarship with Dr. Connie Kim Yen Nguyen-Truong, PhD, RN, Alumnus PCCN as the principal investigator project mentor.