Susan G. Komen Southeast Wisconsin Supports the African American Breast Health Initiative
In its fourth year of funding from Susan G. Komen Southeast Wisconsin, the African American Breast Health Initiative at Wheaton Franciscan – St. Joseph is a life-saving program for those women at highest risk for breast cancer.
Aimed at African American women 40 years and older, the initiative provides breast health education and encourages women to receive a mammogram and a diagnostic mammogram if necessary. A focus on the African American population is imperative as they experience many health disparities. For example, breast cancer consumes 33 percent of all new cancer cases in black women. And, while white women are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, 60 percent of black women are more likely to receive a late stage breast cancer diagnosis. St. Joseph Campus is determined to assist women in breaking down barriers to breast health care and connecting them with appropriate resources to do so.
Education sessions are delivered by a Community Health Worker and Nurse. In addition to education, they provide patient navigation services and will attend mammogram appointments with the patient if she requests.
In order to ensure women at greatest risk are served, education sessions are held at group homes, transitional living facilities, senior housing and businesses. For those who cannot attend a group session, the Community Health Worker will provide individual sessions, typically at St. Joseph Campus.
The Breast Health Initiative also is fortunate to receive referrals from the St. Joseph Emergency Department, and many Wheaton physicians refer their patients to the program, especially those who are under 40 and are experiencing breast health issues.
This year our goal is to educate a minimum of 400 underserved women. Ultimately, the initiative strives to remove barriers and empower women to engage in breast cancer screenings and breast health care and do so on a regular basis. Throughout the past four years, this program has educated more than 1,000 women and over 500 participants have received mammograms.
The Wheaton Franciscan – St. Joseph Foundation is grateful for the continued support of and partnership with Susan G. Komen Southeast Wisconsin. They make the African American Breast Health Initiative possible.