The successful health information and screenings program led by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences' (UAMS) Fay W. Boozman College of Public at the Mexican Consulate in Little Rock received the grant today from Susan G. Komen For The Cure to promote breast cancer education and screening.
The grant was announced at a news conference at the Consulate. The thriving partnership between UAMS and the Consulate provides health education, screening programs and referrals for needed services to more than 30,000 Consulate visitors annually through the Ventanilla de Salud (Health Window Program) that began in 2010.
"Our overall charge is to improve the health and well-being of Arkansans, and this addition to the program is an outstanding opportunity to reach a specific and growing demographic group where we can make a meaningful impact," said Jim Raczynski, Ph.D., dean of the UAMS College of Public Health. "Identifying and eliminating health disparities is a large part of what we do to improve the health of this state, and efforts like this partnership defines that."
Led by UAMS College of Public Health faculty member Paul Greene, Ph.D., the $50,000 Komen grant is part of a new pilot program to address disparities in breast cancer mortality among Mexican, Mexican-American and Hispanic women. It is part of a $200,000 overall Komen grant award to programs at Mexican consulates in Little Rock, San Diego, Dallas and San Antonio. It will not only integrate breast health materials into the programs, but increase their capacity and efficiency in reaching their unique communities with breast cancer information.
According to the American Cancer Society, Hispanics are the largest minority group in the country with more than 15 percent of the population, and is projected to triple by 2050. Among Hispanic women, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer incidence and deaths. Health disparities research by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows Hispanic women are more likely to be uninsured and live in poverty. This, along with cultural and educational barriers, likely contributes to lower mammography and poorer survival rates.
The Ventanilla de Salud program was created by the Ministries of Health and Foreign Affairs of Mexico in 2003 to increase health literacy, disease prevention and health promotion in the Mexican and Latino communities. All 50 Mexican consulates in the United States have partnered with local entities to develop the program. The UAMS College of Public Health provides the personnel and support for the Mexican Consulate in Little Rock, stemming from a partnership struck in 2010.