Annual Events to Mark on the Calendar

From Girls Night Out to 5Ks and golf tournaments, there’s something for everyone.

Connecting women with breast cancer screening and education can be a challenge, especially for women who are poor, uninsured, or don’t speak English.

The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition reaches out to women directly, bringing education, screenings and support to people who don’t have ready access to care.

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Tere Villot, who leads the Delaware Chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, has been actively working with DBCC on VIDA!, an initiative that focuses on healthy living for Latinas. She knows that outreach saves lives.

“The mother of one of our nurses went to an event and discovered she had cancer,” she says. “She had a mastectomy and is alive and healthy today.”

This year, DBCC expanded its outreach efforts in order to reach more women who need help with an event held on March 29 at the Multicultural Church and Community Center in Milford. 

In addition to Latinas, the event focused on African-American, Asian and white women, as well as the region’s burgeoning Haitian population.

“We are engaging women of multiple ethnicities who are unemployed, uninsured, underinsured and undocumented,” says Cheryl Doucette, DBCC education and outreach program director in Kent and Sussex counties.

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To that end, DBCC operates the state-owned mobile mammography van to provide screenings and a nurse practitioner also provides clinical breast exams.

Doucette notes that women are far more likely to be screened when tests are free and immediately available.

“It’s far more effective than handing someone a referral and expecting her to follow up on her own,” she says.

To break down language barriers, bilingual nurses and outreach workers are there to help. A trilingual doctor who speaks English, Spanish and Haitian Creole was a partner at the multicultural event.

Outreach also includes opportunities to connect with resources that can bolster women’s career, financial and family health, including pharmacists and social services.

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Employers such as Perdue offer employment information.

“We also talk to people who are interested in being a nurse, or going into another area of health care,” Villot says. “An outreach event might be the introduction for someone who will dedicate her life to helping others.”  

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