Free Health Screenings for Region 8 Hispanic Women

September 15, 2006 - Posted at 4:58 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- According to the CDC, heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death for the Hispanic population.  Factors that contribute to poor health outcomes among the Latino community include language and cultural barriers, lack of access to preventive care, and lack of health insurance.  But one health care provider is working to bring free services and screenings to Hispanic women in Region 8.

"Many times minority women won't go to the hospital on their own, they want to go somewhere they are familiar with," said Nurse Educator for St. Bernards Mobile Mammography Unit Marti Whitehead, R.N., "The Jonesboro Family Health Clinic has a very good established relationship with the Hispanic community and that's why we decided to have this event here today."

On Friday, St. Bernards Medical Center partnered with the Arkansas Breast Care Program and the Jonesboro Family Health Clinic to provide free clinical breast exams, pap smears and mammograms to Hispanic women.

The effort is funded by a $16,000 "Woman to Woman" grant from the Susan G. Komen Foundation.  The program is designed to incorporate cultural sensitivity, break down language barriers by providing interpreters and promote breast health awareness through materials which are translated into Spanish as well.

"One in eight women will be affected by breast cancer and the key to treating breast cancer is catching it in it's earliest stages and minority women tend to not have mammograms on a scheduled basis," said Whitehead, "If we can get them in here and they can be screened on an early basis and we can catch breast cancer at it's earliest point then they have a better chance for survival.  And actually most minority women have a higher death incident for breast cancer then say Caucasian women because they don't seek treatment."

Friday's turnout was so well received, St. Bernards has decided to expand the event.  They will host another free screening at the Jonesboro Family Health Center on September 29th, again starting at noon.  To pre-register, women can call the J.F.H.C. at 802-3586 or the Hispanic Community Center at 931-1884.