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Komen For The Cure Phoenix and LPM team up to raise awareness

The need to know

8094974873_86a4a42322_o Komen CAN AZ’s targeted effort to inform the Spanish-speaking community about breast cancer issues

Once again, Latino Perspectives is proud to contribute to the efforts of Susan G. Komen Central and Northern Arizona® and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure®  to educate the public about breast cancer – its prevalence, detection, treatment and what individuals can do to battle this devastating disease. This month’s report emphasizes how these organizations are improving their strategies to communicate more effectively with different ethnic populations, particularly Latinas, that are less likely to seek out information about breast cancer. The success of these strategies ultimately depends on the direct participation of community members. The stories that follow illustrate just how simple, and rewarding, it is to become part of the solution.

Making Hispanic education a priority

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If you’ve attended any of the Valley’s large events or festivals geared towards the Hispanic population in the past several years, chances are that you’ve seen a Susan G. KomenCentral and Northern Arizona’s® (Komen CAN AZ) signature pink booth touting breast health and breast cancer information. 

“Educating the Hispanic population throughout our service area of central and northern Arizona is one of our affiliate’s key priorities,” says Sharon Kolb, mission support specialist for Komen CAN AZ. “Komen’s mission is to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality of care for all and energizing science to find the cures – but we’re not meeting our mission if we aren’t empowering a key segment of the population.” 

An estimated nine percent of Arizona’s population – more than 600,000 people – is Spanish speaking only. That was the impetus behind Komen CAN AZ’s push to recruit more Spanish-speaking volunteers over the past several years. In 2011, the Affiliate hosted its first-ever training  specifically for bilingual Community Outreach Ambassadors (COAs), a group of dedicated volunteers who share breast health information at health fairs and other community events.      

Today, approximately 30 Spanish-speaking COAs represent the Affiliate at year-round events such as the La Campesina Cinco de Mayo Festival, the Latino Institute’s Back to School Health Fair and the Mujeres únicas Community Health Fair. 

Phoenix resident, Daniela Bulmini, fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian, began putting her language skills and passion for educating others to work as a COA in 2007, attending between eight and ten events a year. Daniela was the only Spanish speaker available for daytime speaking events prior to the 2011 bilingual training. 

Despite a busy schedule that includes a family, her own business and working for  a Master of Health Care Administration degree, Daniela makes volunteering a priority. “Through teaching and education, this program has a huge impact on our community,” she says. “Komen’s mission comes alive through every COA, as we reach community members and save lives, one woman at a time.”  

Daniela is particularly active in speaking engagements at school districts, giving talks as part of Graduate Equivalency Diploma (GED) or English as a Second Language (ESL) programs, for example. 

“As COAs, we have the opportunity to attend venues that we wouldn’t otherwise. We meet people with real breast health needs, who demand a cure, not just for themselve, but for future generations as well.”

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This Article appears on the October 2013 issue of LPM under Features

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