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CCAP in Mexico

Project Mission


CCAP Across The Map, the Tia Foundation, and Volunteer Expedition Adventurers (VEAs) partnered to address healthcare needs in areas surrounding the municipality Mascota in Jalisco, Mexico whose healthcare system is predominantly made up of “Promotoras”, also known as community health care workers. The Tia Foundation and VEAs trained these healthcare workers in basic medical procedures, such as taking vitals. CCAP Across The Map additionally provided educational seminars on cervical cancer prevention through HPV vaccination and training these workers to diagnose cervical cancer using a method called Visual Inspection Using Acetic Acid (VIA). CCAP Across The Map additionally donated the medical equipment necessary for the VIA procedure to these communities. Lastly, CCAP Across The Map provided community consultations in different mountainous villages to educate the community about the importance of HPV vaccination for cervical cancer prevention. The goal was to equip local, rural communities with the knowledge of cost effective and sustainable methods of preventing and diagnosing cervical cancer.


Results of the Trip


Day One Report:

On day one, Co-Founders Hunter Ackerley and Jillian Leaver met with the Volunteer Expedition Adventurer’s, Wynona Heim and her daughter Rhiannon Heim, as well as Tia Foundation Founder Laura Libman and her son, the marketing director, Nate Harris. We were driven around by Elias during the entire trip. Day one, we settled into a hotel for the night in Guadalajara and prepared for the busy week ahead.


Day Two Report:

On day two, everyone woke up early in the morning and met the medical brigade volunteers from Guadalajara outside of the hotel for the first time. We also met our translator, Susy Zavala, and paid her for her services. Then we made the three hour journey from Guadalajara to the first small town outside of Mascota where the entire team set up a pop-up health clinic. We gave out ten HPV infographics that day to a variety of women and men who had different amounts of knowledge about the HPV vaccination and its free availability for girls ages 9-12 in Mexico.  

Number of People Who Knew about the Vaccine

Number of People Who did Not Know about the Vaccine

Number of People Who Were Reported to be Vaccinated

Number of Infographics Handed Out

Two (Both Women)

Nine (Eight Women, One Man)

Two Daughters of Women We Spoke With and One Woman Herself


At around 4:00 pm that day, after returning to Mascota from the small surrounding town, we attended a lecture about vital signs conducted by Dr. Roberto Martinez. When the community health workers (called Promotoras) began to learn how to take these vitals, we coordinated  with our translator and the assistant to the President of Mascota regarding  setting up two meetings, one with the Director of Health, Dra. Ada Hernandez, and another with the President, Dra. Sara Castillon Ochoa. 


Day Three Report:

On day three, we went with our translator Susy to the meeting with Dra. Ada Hernandez, Director of Health, at the main hospital in Mascota and had a two hour meeting where we learned a few important things about HPV and cervical cancer in the greater area of Jalisco, Mexico. These things included:


  1. Access to the HPV vaccine is only free for girls ages 9-12 in Mexico, and these vaccines are often distributed through schools. However, many children who live in poorer areas may miss this opportunity due to a lack of the vaccine’s accessibility. The community healthcare workers often go door-to-door in an attempt to vaccinate girls who may not get vaccinated in school.
  2. Pap smear test results through the hospital take about two months to get back to the patient.
  3. Mobile Vans come to do rapid HPV tests twice a year, but these results still take one month to get back to a patient.
  4. Patients who need further health care due to a positive result have to travel to a bigger city, either Guadalajara or Puerto Vallarta, for free treatment. However, traveling these long distances and being away for an even longer period of time is often too much of a financial strain on families, so patients are often not able to seek the needed treatment.
  5. Medical professionals, including the community healthcare workers, have difficulty reaching people in poorer smaller surrounding towns because the medical center does not have enough resources to transport these people to the regions which need help.



Later that day, at around 4pm, we, along with the guidance of two doctors from the brigade, taught three hour-long lectures to the community healthcare workers (groups of 7-8) in Spanish about HPV and the VIA method for diagnosis to a total of 23 people. We administered pre and post tests about both topics to each Promotora and we saw an average increase in knowledge by about 20% for HPV and about 40% for the VIA diagnostic method. 


Day Four Report: 

On day four, we went with our translator, to have a meeting with the President of Mascota, Dra. Sara Castillin Ochoa. This meeting lasted about an hour and a half, during which time we learned more about the nature of HPV and cervical cancer in Mascota. The things we learned included:



  1. The President believes there is a low rate of HPV and cervical cancer in the current younger generation of Mascota. However, many people do not get tested so the number of people who actually have HPV and potentially cervical cancer is unclear.
  2. The President herself has educational lectures about HPV and practicing safe sex with the youth in Mascota, but due to the small town nature and closeness of the people in the town, the younger children may not feel comfortable buying condoms or the like to practice safe sex due to fear of others learning  they are sexually active.
  3. The President created a group called IMAJ, which is a youth centered program for social prevention of health problems like HPV. She is working towards getting more workshops through this group and plans on continuing to dedicate time to running this group after her term as President is over.
  4. The President has a strong connection with parents through the schools and knows that some parents want to buy the HPV vaccine for their boys and older girls but do not have a trusted contact to buy it from.
  5. Boys do not get the vaccine, in fact the President did not know that they could based on current medical guidelines.
  6. The President tries to travel frequently to many areas of Mascota and connect with the youth about health education, especially since many children will have been sexually active by the time they turn twelve.
  7. The vaccine is no longer offered for free after girls turn twelve because of a belief that they have likely already been sexually active and exposed to HPV already. 



Later that day, around 4pm, we directed a skills lab to train the 23 promotoras (community health workers) how to do the VIA test with the guidance of the brigade doctors. We trained three groups of people and also administered an impact test in which around 80% of the Promotoras said they would use VIA in the field and about 95% said they would recommend the diagnostic technique to other healthcare workers. 


Day Five Report: 

On day five, we went back out with the medical brigade in the morning to the pop-up health clinic in a small surrounding town of Mascota. The data we gathered there is as follows:

Number of People Who Knew about the Vaccine

Number of People Who did Not Know about the Vaccine

Number of People Who Were Reported to be Vaccinated

Number of Infographics Handed Out


One (Woman)



Later that day, we spent the afternoon organizing, inputting, and calculating the data related to our pre/post as well as impact surveys. The full data can be found in the drive for the Mexico project. 


Day Six Report:

On day six, we distributed 15 vaginal speculums and 75 sterile cotton swabs to the graduating Promotoras. These items were given to the Promotoras during their graduation ceremony along with other medical supplies related to the procedures they had learned about from the Brigade throughout the week. We each received two certificates from the ceremony. One certificate was from the municipality of Mascota thanking us for our service. The other was from our Field partner, the Tia Foundation also thanking us for our service. That night, we traveled back to Guadalajara and stayed in a hotel called Real Inn instead of Hotel Camino Real as it was closed due to COVID-19. 


Day Seven Report:

On day seven, we spent the morning touring some areas of Guadalajara with the original group we met up with on day one. In the early afternoon, we made contact with a philanthropic jewelry store called Bird and Stone that we found online for an ongoing fundraising partnership that we are still currently pursuing. Later that day during lunch, we met with Mario Guzman and Fabian Martinez, two members of the volunteer Brigade who worked with the Tia Foundation on the trip, and we officially asked them to be our ongoing partners with CCAP Across The Map in Mexico. They accepted positions as Medical Field Partner (Mario Guzman) and Psychologist Field Partner (Fabian Martinez). 


Day Eight Report:

On day eight, we toured some other areas of Mexico and spent our last full day with our new friends!


Day Nine Report:

On day nine, we traveled home safely to Arizona. 


CCAP Across The Map continues to work with the Jalisco health workers to offer education about the prevention and diagnosis of female specific cancers.

  1. We followed-up to offer further cervical cancer prevention education in December 2020.
  2. We hosted a breast cancer prevention and diagnosis seminar over zoom hosted by our Mexico satellite team members in August 2021.

CCAP Across The Map has plans to work with the youth population through a mentorship program meant to promote positive health behaviors. This program was designed by our team to make information digestible and available to children of late-elementary and middle school age (ages 12-14) about the risk of cancers associated with HPV and how to prevent them. We are targeting this age group as a means to implement early prevention of HPV and associated cancers in the lives of youth community members. The program offers comprehensive learning opportunities about:


1) What HPV is and how it is contracted, 

2) Behaviors that increase the risk of cancer, and 

3) Signs and symptoms of cancers associated with HPV


Additionally, the program pairs groups of students with a trained mentor who guides them through role-playing scenarios in which they get to implement their health knowledge and:


1) Practice being a self-advocate for asking their parents and doctor about getting the HPV vaccine, and 

2) Learning how to deal with peer pressure when it comes to risky behaviors like smoking, drinking, and unprotected sex


We have an amazing team of mentors ready to work with schools both locally in Southern Arizona as well as with our satellite team in Jalisco, Mexico. These mentors will meet and engage students either over the course of one semester or during their pre-set, health education weeks in school. Mentors will give large-group educational presentations over the course of the time they are with the students as well as run the role-playing scenarios with their assigned smaller groups. The goals with this project are to increase knowledge about HPV and cancer prevention as well as offer students the tools to be effective self-advocates with their health at large. This program is set to launch in Arizona in the spring semester of 2022.


CCAP Across The Map will be launching a program in Jalisco, Mexico in 2022 focused on working with orphanages in order to streamline the process of getting girls ages 9-14 their HPV vaccines. HPV vaccines are free in Mexico for girls of this age group, but without the representation of a legal guardian, girls in orphanages do not regularly receive the preventative HPV vaccine. Our goal is to work with local doctors to reach out to orphanages and start a program where the young girls can get vaccinated against HPV under the care of our partnering doctors. 

CCAP Across The Map will be working with local officials and doctors in Jalisco, Mexico in 2022 to start a campaign on educating the community about the importance of the HPV vaccine for boys. Currently, no governmental or medical support exists in the region for getting boys access to the free HPV vaccine in Mexico. Our goal is to create awareness and change in the region so that the vaccine becomes accessible to boys and they get vaccinated to prevent HPV and HPV related cancers.