Paul D. Fraim

Mayor Supports Campaign for "Every Woman's Life" Screening for Underserved

Mayor Paul Fraim is in full support of the "Every Womanís Life" Program, which has just completed its second year of providing mammograms and Pap screenings for uninsured women in Norfolk. The "Every Womanís Life Program" is the Virginia Department of Healthís Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (BCCEDP). "Every Womanís Life" is a collaborative effort of the Virginia Department of Health, Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS), the Norfolk Department of Public Health, and Sentara and BonSecours hospitals.

Collaboration on "Every Womanís Life" Program

The overall goal of "Every Womanís Life" .is to increase access to screening for women age 50-64, especially minority and low-income women. Currently over 1,000 women have participated in these free screenings; 12 have been diagnosed with breast cancer and one with cervical cancer.

While this program provides a much .needed service for women, it also provides .additional training in womenís health issues for residents of EVMS Internal Medicine and those of combined Family Medicine/ Internal Medicine because these physicians provide the clinical breast and pelvic exams. Breast cancer awareness and screening is handled by a coalition of volunteers and professional staff who educate women about the importance of breast self-examinations, community resources, and the importance of annual exams. The coalition consists of:

  • community nursing volunteers;

  • Sentara Hospital, including .a mammography van;

  • the "Every Womanís Life" case manager;

  • EVMS residents; and

  • Norfolk Department of Public Healthís BCCEDP coordinator.

Throughout the process of examinations .and education, the women are treated with dignity and concern and are afforded services they would not otherwise receive.

Mammograms for Younger Women

While the "Every Womanís Life" Program targets women age 50-64, there are many women age 40-49 who need mammograms. Through a collaborative effort .with Sentara Hospitalís Pin Program and Longaberger Baskets, funds are donated .to a charity mammogram fund, and free mammograms are given to women in .this age bracket without insurance. Approximately 50 women have benefitted from this much-needed service.

Outreach Strategies

Outreach strategies used to recruit women into "Every Womanís Life" were extensive and included use of radio PSAs, newspaper inserts, television interviews, fliers, bus advertisements, and direct mailing to businesses and churches. Descriptions of some .specific activities follow.

Honoring Survivors

"Portraits in Hope" is a joint effort between the American Cancer Society, Sentara Hospital, and "Every Womanís Life" participants who were diagnosed with breast cancer. This standing photographic exhibit recognizes these breast cancer survivors and has a two-fold purpose: (1) to increase awareness of breast cancer as a major health issue; and (2) to promote the importance .of early detection to increase survival rates. This exhibit travels to local malls, and there are plans to take it to local businesses and organizations.

Presentations in Residences and Churches:

The health departmentís BCCEDP .coordinator provides outreach and .public education activities to encourage women to enroll in "Every Womanís Life." Over 20 public education programs were done and focused on breast health .facts and instruction in breast self-examination. Women enjoyed playing the breast .cancer bingo game (a unique educational tool that combines fun with education), watching a breast cancer video titled "Keep in Touch," and learning from breast models. The programs were given on request to Norfolk Redevelopment Housing Authority (NRHA) senior community residents, retirement centers, mid-rise and high-rise senior communities, senior centers, and churches. Over 300 women were reached.

Health Fairs

Public awareness included health fairs in schools and churches. Over 1,000 women were reached with information.

Motherís Day:

In May, 2,000 Motherís Day cards .promoting mammogram screening were distributed in local flower shops.

Follow-Up and Treatment

Women diagnosed with breast cancer are treated through collaborative treatment resources. These include the Sentara Ambulatory Clinic, BonSecours Hospital, and the Martha Davis Cancer Center. The American Cancer Society provides prostheses for women who cannot afford them.

Outcome of Collaboration

Norfolkís unique collaborative networking and interdisciplinary approach had created a team of resources that serve women in our community. It is Mayor Fraimís objective to see that it continues because he believes that screening is the key to early detection.

For more information, please contact:

Laverne Williams
BCCEDP Coordinator
Norfolk Department of Public Health
telephone: 757/683-2756
fax: 757/683-2753


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