Mayor James P. Perron

Mayor Supports Coalition for Outreach to Underserved

Mammography in Elkhart County is now within the reach of low-income, minority and medically underserved women in the area due to the efforts of the Elkhart County Breast Health Coalition. Mayor James Perron has given his full and public support to this body that is comprised of three key agencies - - the Elkhart County Health Department, the Elkhart YWCA, and the Minority Health Coalition. The coalition. s work has resulted in the Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (BCCEDP).

Supported by funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through the Indiana Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, the BCCEDP is piloting strategies for outreach this year as part of a five-year effort involving eleven providers and agencies. Activities to date have been:

A mailing to over 100 agencies included flyers, posters and brochures about the BCCEDP and encouraged mammogram referrals to one of the outreach agencies.

A bilingual breast and cervical cancer display in Spanish and English was developed for use in the community. Currently, the outreach team has staffed the display, which has educational materials and giveaways at over thirty locations throughout the county, including grocery stores, worksites, health fairs, churches, and agencies. Over 5,000 women have been reached with messages thus far.

Bingo sites throughout the county provided space for a breast and cervical cancer display and an information table. Over 1,000 women were reached.

Educational presentations have been given in the community to various groups, including service and civic organizations, the targeted populations, schools, local agencies, health care providers, and business professionals.

Worksite programs for the underserved are being developed with employers who have large numbers of minority employees, so as to provide educational programs and mammogram referrals for women who qualify.

A community center in a low-income neighborhood was the site for a luncheon seminar held to encourage women to do breast self-exams and to get mammograms. Approximately forty women attended this event, which featured an African American breast cancer survivor who spoke of the need for awareness.

A breast cancer panel discussion, at which Mayor Perron spoke, was organized by the coalition and held on September 22. The panel presented to the media the latest information on breast cancer education, detection, diagnosis, treatment, and research. This event was held in collaboration with breast cancer awareness partners from across the state of Indiana - - coalitions from Elkhart, South Bend, Terre Haute, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, and other jurisdictions.

Outcome and Future Plans

After four months of operation, approximately sixty women have been screened. The end-of-the-year goal is to conduct 500 screenings. Other plans for the future include:

  • collaboration with the parish nurses and minority churches to do outreach;
  • door-to-door awareness campaigns in targeted neighborhoods; and
  • continued educational seminars.

Contact: Denise Blenner, Executive Assistant, Mayor. s Office, 219/294-5471.

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The United States Conference of Mayors

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