Arizona Family Health Partnership is pleased to announce that we were awarded a grant by the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) to improve the amount of people tested for Chlamydia in the state of Arizona. ADHS receives funding each year from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to do work with STD prevention, and a piece of that funding was awarded to AFHP for this project. AFHP will be working with other Arizona agencies to improve chlamydia testing rates by identifying current barriers to screening and seeking solutions for each unique agency. The primary focus of the project is increasing screening rates for Chlamydia for young women under the age of 25. Chlamydia is especially an issue for this population because it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause future infertility.

This area is in AFHP’s wheelhouse, as our organization has been doing work on quality improvement for Chlamydia screenings since our initial partnership with ADHS’s Infertility Prevention Project (IPP) in the late 1990’s to provide chlamydia screening at Title X funded health centers. After the initial project, AFHP began a performance improvement project to increase screening rates within our delegate agencies, and has seen success over the years. Across the eight agencies that participated, Chlamydia testing rates improved from around 50% of the target population in the 1990’s to a range of 78% to as high as 99%. Six agencies had screening rates above 85%, which was higher than the goal set for the project, 80%.

This time, AFHP will be working with nine community based safety-net provider agencies across the state of Arizona to work to improve their screening rates. Three of these agencies are Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) that we are working with for the first time: El Rio, Native Health, and Desert Senita. From our past experience working with performance improvement projects, AFHP knows that many factors can affect an agency’s ability to succeed in providing universal screening clients, especially young women and adolescents. However, AFHP will be working closely with these agencies to identify the challenges, provide technical assistance, and work on solutions that will improve the screening process for clients, and hopefully reduce the rates of Chlamydia.