Ilka Jacobs

CRIG member
Ilka Jacobs

Doctoral fellow - Department of Public Health and Primary Care (Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UGent)
Principal investigator: prof. Katrien Vanthomme (PhD)


Research focus

Breast cancer remains a significant public health concern, and despite the implementation of biennial population-based screening programs, disparities persist in the participation rates among eligible individuals. Social determinants such as socioeconomic status, migration background, education, and cultural factors contribute to the observed disparities, underscoring the need for targeted interventions. The CHWxBC project, in which I am actively engaged as a doctoral student, leverages the unique capabilities of community health workers to bridge the gap in screening participation. The CHWs serve as intermediaries between healthcare systems and communities, facilitating increased awareness, education, and access to breast cancer screening services. Moreover, the project extends beyond merely increasing participation rates, emphasizing the importance of health literacy and informed decision-making. CHWs are instrumental in empowering underscreened women with the necessary health skills and knowledge to make informed choices regarding their participation in breast cancer screening. My research contributes to the growing body of literature on the effectiveness of community-based interventions in addressing healthcare disparities. By integrating CHWs into the breast cancer screening process, the CHWxBC project seeks not only to increase participation rates but also to enhance the overall health literacy of underscreened populations.


  • 2016: Bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics
  • 2017: Postgraduate Diabetes Educator
  • 2021: Master of Science in Health Promotion
  • 2022: Research Assistant in the General Practitioner Shortage Project at Ghent University
  • 2022 - present: PhD Student at Ghent University

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