Nursing School Fulbright Scholar Will Study The Impact of Culture, Religion on Breast Cancer Prevention Among Islamic Women

Associate Nursing Professor Dr. Khlood Salman, who has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, will travel to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to study the impact of culture and religion on breast cancer prevention among Muslim women.

A Muslim woman and native of Iraq, Salman understands traditional Islamic law and cultural customs that guide women in Islam. In addition to her doctorate in the epidemiology of chronic diseases, she's done research and scholarship on women's health, including breast cancer and cervical cancer prevention. Salman said she chose Mecca because of the city's diversity and its Muslim population.

"Breast cancer is something that women there don't want to discuss-they keep it private. "I proposed to go to Mecca-a very Islamic, conservative city and the holiest city of Islam-to understand how women there perceive breast cancer prevention."

Salman will be based at Umm al-Qura University, where she hopes to find a fellow faculty member to partner with on her qualitative study. She acknowledges that she won't be able to start surveying women right away because of their modesty. "I will settle in for a few months and then start to make friends and go from there," Salman said. "I don't anticipate any problems. I speak the language, which helps, and I am Muslim, so I know the religion and the culture very well."

Besides her research, Salman said she'll offer to do both faculty and student workshops at Umm al-Qura University. "You have to educate women there, especially nursing and health professionals, in order to raise awareness," said Salman.

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