Project Empowers Latinas to be Champions against Cancer

December 1, 2011

In December 2010, the Foundation received a 2011 National Capital Area grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. This two-year grant is funding a project entitled “Las Campeonas de ¡Celebremos La Vida!: Providing Education Outreach and Screening.” ¡Celebremos La Vida! (Let’s Celebrate Life!)  provides breast and cervical cancer education and screening to medically underserved Hispanic women in the Washington, DC area and in McHenry County, IL. Through support from Komen, the Foundation is adding peer-to-peer outreach to these vital services.

The peer-to-peer outreach centers on the concept of Campeona (“champion,” in English). Similar to a promotora, a Campeona is a lay person volunteering her time to spread the word about breast cancer screening and to share her own personal experiences. Campeonas will be equipped with a “kit” to assist in sharing their reasons for getting screened with friends and relatives.

Modesta Castañeda, ¡Celebremos la vida! participant and breast cancer survivor, at an advisory committee brainstorming session.

“We are very excited to embark on this project!,” states Mary Wozniak, MPH, Prevention and Chronic Care Program Manager at Spanish Catholic Center of Catholic Charities in Washington, DC.

“Our patients are passionate about taking care of themselves, and this program empowers them to spread the word about prevention and early detection of breast cancer in their own communities.”

As part of the project, an advisory committee consisting of bilingual and bicultural health educators, cancer survivors and lay community members, including Celebremos patients, was formed. The committee includes individuals from Colombia, Honduras, Ecuador, and Nicaragua.

The Foundation is looking forward to making the kit available on the Internet late next year for other providers interested in offering culturally appropriate peer-to-peer outreach so that more underserved women may be empowered to start the conversation about breast cancer and the importance of getting screened.

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