The Creando Program
In the past five years, Creando Nuestra Salud (CNS) has trained over 150 lay-health workers to use interactive teaching tools and fotonovelas to empower women to practice early breast cancer detection activities (breast self-exam, clinical visits and mammograms). By September 2011, over 2400 women had received one-on-one trainings as a result of the lay-health worker program.
Creando Nuestra Salud is a shining example of a community-based health project. This breast health project grew out of the needs identified by Alianza de Mujeres Activas (AMA) in Central Florida. With funding from the Florida Breast Cancer Coalition Research Foundation, the Central Florida Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and the Florida Division of the American Cancer Society, the RWHP has worked with rural communities throughout Florida and Central Kentucky in the development, evaluation and distribution of these materials.
The goal of the program, Creando Nuestra Salud (Creating Our Health) is to reduce late detection of breast cancer among Hispanic, Spanish-speaking women living in Lake, Putnam, Volusia, Levy, Orange, Osceola and Alachua Counties through one-on-one education.
Since 1991 the Rural Women's Health Project (RWHP) has held steadfast to its mission: to work with rural communities in order to strengthen their capacity to overcome health barriers. One of the greatest health disparities facing the women in this community is the high rate of death from breast cancer due to late detection. Therefore, to diminish these rates, the RWHP's Creando Nuestra Salud (CNS) (Creating Our Health) project will increase the participation of Hispanic women, who reside in rural areas, 40 years of age and older, in early breast cancer detection screenings through evidence-based, one-on-one peer education and referrals.
CNS focuses on reaching Hispanic women who are often without a medical home and have limited access to reliable prevention information in Spanish. CNS is a holistic approach to reaching out to this population that faces many health obstacles. Therefore, RWHP established partnerships with four medical facilities, anxious to serve their target communities. The Medical Partners are: Shand's Mobile Outreach Clinic in Alachua, Family Medical and Dental (serving Putnam and Volusia counties), Community Health Centers, Inc. (serving Orange, Lake and Osceola) and Levy County Health Department in Levy County.
The RWHP will hold workshops to train coordinators from community-based partners. The partner coordinators will return to their respective communities and each recruit ten women to become Peer Educator. The CNS program trains peer educators to follow a fluid, scripted guide to replicate the early detection message with each woman contact. Once trained, each peer educator will be responsible for carrying out ten, one-on-one, "orientaciones" (teachings) each month for two months (a total of 20 contact per peer educator) with Hispanic women in their community. Women will learn about early screening including breast self-exams, be linked to medical facilities for clinical and mammograms services and be educated about medical and social services in their area with a La Guia (Resource Guide) for the county in which they reside.