For Immediate Release

January 29, 2024

Building Defense Against Cervical Cancer: Colposcopy Mastery Training for Guam Clinicians

Hagåtña, Guam - January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and to increase Guam’s capacity to prevent this deadly but preventable disease, eleven of Guam’s doctors and nurses from the Todu Guam Foundation, Marianas Physicians Group, Seventh Day Adventist Clinic, Guam Memorial Hospital, and the Northern and Southern Community Health Services under the Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) received up to 30 hours of colposcopy training.  Colposcopy complements routine cervical cancer screening by meticulously examining the cervix to identify areas affected by chronic, persistent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which, if left untreated, can lead to cervical cancer.


Following the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP) guidelines, the course included classroom simulation and demonstration, as well as opportunities to observe and perform/assist in colposcopy and related diagnostic procedures. Visiting trainers, Dr. Alan Waxman, Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and Dr. Ann Chang, Sharma Endowed Professor of OB/GYN and Associate Chair of Community Partnership at the University of Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific Health, covered a range of topics related to colposcopy, including instrumentation and equipment, colposcopic evaluation of the cervix, and guiding interactive case reviews and hands-on practice. 

Training participant, Dr. Mariana Cook-Hyunh, shared, "In our unique island setting, there are few specialists to provide women's health services, especially to our most underserved and vulnerable populations. By training our family medicine physicians and mid-level practitioners, we are able to expand access to care and improve the skills of our local healthcare professionals. Through our collaboration with the PACe project, we aim to better serve all the women of Guam."

The training was conducted from January 16 to 19 at the Todu Guam Foundation and was sponsored by the Pacific Against Cervical Cancer (PACe) Project, at no cost to participants, who will continue to be mentored by experienced local physicians.

The PACe Project is a CDC-funded effort, supported by the Pacific Island Health Officers’ Association (PIHOA), to decrease cervical cancer incidence and mortality in the US Pacific Islands by increasing awareness of the importance of screening through pilot implementation in Guam and Yap, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). The project team includes the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Jhpiego - an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the Cancer Council of New South Wales. The project team works in close collaboration with the PACe Guam Advisory Board, comprised of representatives from the DPHSS Guam Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, American Cancer Society Guam, University of Guam, Todu Guam Foundation, Guam Cancer Care, Archdiocese of Agana, and Neechuumeres: Chuukese Women on Guam Organization. The PACe Project is in line with the World Health Organization for the Western Pacific Region’s (WPRO) Strategic Framework for the Comprehensive Prevention and Control of Cervical Cancer in the Western Pacific Region 2023–2030, endorsed by the WPRO member states, which includes the U.S. and its territories, and the U.S. Freely Associated States of the FSM, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.


About the Pacific Islands Health Officers' Association

The Pacific Islands Health Officers’ Association (PIHOA) mission is to improve the health and well-being of the USAPIs by providing, through consensus, a unified credible voice on health issues of regional significance. Established in 1986, PIHOA is governed by and represents the collective interests of the USAPI health leadership from American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. 


PIHOA’s Secretariat, comprised of executive, administrative, and technical staff and consultants, provides support to the USAPI health agencies and leadership in the following priority areas: health workforce development; epidemiology and surveillance; health systems performance improvement; laboratory services; regional health leadership and policy advocacy; Pacific health security; and, partnership engagement and coordination. PIHOA has two offices in Honolulu, Hawai’i, and Hagåtña, Guam.

Media Contacts

Billie Hiraishi

Communications Officer

Cerina Mariano

Grants Manager