Randomized trial of community health worker-led decision coaching to promote shared decision-making for prostate cancer screening among Black male patients and their providers

Danil V. Makarov, Zachary Feuer, Shannon Ciprut, Natalia Martinez Lopez, Angela Fagerlin, Michele Shedlin, Heather T. Gold, Huilin Li, Gina Lynch, Rueben Warren, Peter Ubel, Joseph E. Ravenell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Black men are disproportionately affected by prostate cancer, the most common non-cutaneous malignancy among men in the USA. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) encourages prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing decisions to be based on shared decision-making (SDM) clinician professional judgment, and patient preferences. However, evidence suggests that SDM is underutilized in clinical practice, especially among the most vulnerable patients. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of a community health worker (CHW)-led decision-coaching program to facilitate SDM for prostate cancer screening among Black men in the primary care setting, with the ultimate aim of improving/optimizing decision quality. Methods: We proposed a CHW-led decision-coaching program to facilitate SDM for prostate cancer screening discussions in Black men at a primary care FQHC. This study enrolled Black men who were patients at the participating clinical site and up to 15 providers who cared for them. We estimated to recruit 228 participants, ages 40–69 to be randomized to either (1) a decision aid along with decision coaching on PSA screening from a CHW or (2) receiving a decision aid along with CHW-led interaction on modifying dietary and lifestyle to serve as an attention control. The independent randomization process was implemented within each provider and we controlled for age by dividing patients into two strata: 40–54 years and 55–69 years. This sample size sufficiently powered the detection differences in the primary study outcomes: knowledge, indicative of decision quality, and differences in PSA screening rates. Primary outcome measures for patients will be decision quality and decision regarding whether to undergo PSA screening. Primary outcome measures for providers will be acceptability and feasibility of the intervention. We will examine how decision coaching about prostate cancer screening impact patient-provider communication. These outcomes will be analyzed quantitatively through objective, validated scales and qualitatively through semi-structured, in-depth interviews, and thematic analysis of clinical encounters. Through a conceptual model combining elements of the Preventative Health Care Model (PHM) and Informed Decision-Making Model, we hypothesize that the prostate cancer screening decision coaching intervention will result in a preference-congruent decision and decisional satisfaction. We also hypothesize that this intervention will improve physician satisfaction with counseling patients about prostate cancer screening. Discussion: Decision coaching is an evidence-based approach to improve decision quality in many clinical contexts, but its efficacy is incompletely explored for PSA screening among Black men in primary care. Our proposal to evaluate a CHW-led decision-coaching program for PSA screening has high potential for scalability and public health impact. Our results will determine the efficacy, cost-effectiveness, and sustainability of a CHW intervention in a community clinic setting in order to inform subsequent widespread dissemination, a critical research area highlighted by USPSTF. Trial registration: The trial was registered prospectively with the National Institute of Health registry (www.clinicaltrials.gov), registration number NCT03726320, on October 31, 2018.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number128
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Community health worker
  • PSA
  • Prostate cancer
  • Racial disparity
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Screening
  • Shared decision-making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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