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Did you know that more African-American and Hispanic women die from breast cancer than white women, even though more white women are diagnosed with the disease? Pin-A-Sister™/Examínate Comadre™, an initiative by Access Community Health Network (ACCESS), is a faith-based, breast cancer outreach and awareness campaign with a mission to reduce health disparities and decrease the number of African-American and Hispanic women who develop breast cancer. The campaign strives to educate women of color about the importance of getting regular mammograms. The myriad of responsibilities women juggle as wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, employees, business owners, heads of household or as primary caregivers often cause women to put their health care needs last. Pin-A-Sister™/Examínate Comadre™ encourages women to take action and take control of their health.
Recognizing that the church plays a vital role in the lives of African-Americans and Hispanics, this faith-based program is an ideal channel for getting the message out. “We look up to our religious and spiritual leaders, so women, when they hear their pastor talking about it, of course they're going to go and get a mammogram,” said longtime program supporter and breast cancer survivor Deaconess Lillouise Lewis of New Friendship M.B. Church.
The program urges places of worship and other community organizations to host educational pink ribbon-pinning ceremonies where women place pink ribbons on each other and commit to scheduling a mammogram, as well as telling others to do the same. The gatherings recognize breast cancer survivors; allow them to briefly share their testimonies; encourage women to get mammograms and provide a visual presentation of this commitment. The program has helped to raise awareness about the importance of early detection and disparities regarding women of color and their ability to get a mammogram.
Pin-A-Sister™/Examinate Comadre™ gatherings have been held throughout the nation and even around the world. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the campaign’s awareness and outreach efforts have reached an estimated four million people since 2007. In fact, through the program’s promotions and referrals by community partners, ACCESS has identified 465 cancers and precancers through its screening program. In total, ACCESS has provided uninsured women with more than 175,000 screenings since 2008.
Church and other community organizations can register to participate on or around Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 14th (May 10th in Mexico), or any other day throughout the year. To register, contact Maria Perez, ACCESS’ Women’s Health Navigator, at 773.648.4838 or Maria.Perez@achn.net.
About Access Community Health Network
Designated as a Level 3 patient-centered medical home by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), ACCESS offers patient-centered, preventive and primary care services to more than 180,000 patients annually. Through its investment in technology to further improve patient care and engagement, ACCESS has also been recognized by HIMMS at Stage 6 for its adoption of its electronic health record. With 36 Joint Commission-accredited community health centers located throughout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, ACCESS is also one of the largest networks of community health centers in the nation. For more information, visit www.achn.net.