DALLASThe Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation has launched the African American Womens Initiative (AAWI), a landmark effort to create a national standard for African American breast health education.
The goal of the AAWI is to reduce the high breast cancer mortality among African American women. We have long recognized the need to address this important issue, said Nancy Brinker, founding chairman of the Foundation.
The AAWI is represented by a national advisory committee made up of experts and thoughtleaders from the African American community, including Zora Kramer Brown, president and founder of the Breast Cancer Resource Committee; Nadine Eads, community outreach director at Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC; and Noma Roberson, director of community intervention research at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
The top priority of the AAWI is to identify breast health education and outreach programs that are making an impact on the African American community and can be replicated nationwide.
The key to success is to design programs that reflect the needs of African American women and effectively communicate the life-saving message of early detection, Mrs. Brinker said. But we dont have to start from scratch. Currently, the Foundation funds several such programs, including the Witness Project, a national program that enlists African American breast cancer survivors to share their stories with women at their local churches; the East-West Breast Express, which educates women at public transportation sites in Atlanta and Oakland, Calif; and the Patient Navigator Program at Harlem Hospital Center, New York, which matches women with patient advocates who navigate them through diagnosis to treatment and beyond.