239759 Engaging community gatekeepers in breast cancer interventions within African American populations: Benefits and power of partnerships

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 8:30 AM

Margaret V. Davis, BS , SBU Cancer Center, Witness Project of LI, State University of New York, Stony Brook, Coram, NY
Nikki Stewart, BA , Cancer Center, Witness Project of LI, State University of New York, Stony Brook, Wyandanch, NY
Introduction: This program's purpose was to increase the efficacy of community-based breast cancer interventions among African American populations by using community gatekeepers and leaders as active partners/volunteers in the interventions. African American women have a 10% lower incidence rate of breast cancer than whites, yet they have a 37% higher death rate than white women. Methods: With Preventive Medicine researchers, we adapted for LI an evidenced-based, faith-based breast cancer intervention program, the Witness Project®, through which community gatekeepers work alongside University outreach staff to secure local churches and other “non-threatening” venues to host health education events for their communities. After being provided a two-day, eight- hour, culturally-sensitive training on breast health, breast cancer facts and myths, and the importance of early detection, gatekeepers/volunteers presented this information to program participants through the use of a peer-to-peer education model. Anecdotal illustrations of the value of early detection were also communicated. Results: From 01/01/2004 – 12/31/2009, we also built capacity as 18 community volunteers enabled presentations to 29 churches (2,307 congregants); 351 requests from non-adherent women for navigation to mammography, or assistance with barriers to mammography access, were received and processed. Program participants expressed great appreciation for peers who understood their community's cultural dynamics, and addressed their fears and concerns within those parameters. Conclusions/Implications: This successful intervention, evidenced by participants' enthusiastic receptivity of early detection information as presented by their peers, advances the manifold benefits of providing health education and awareness through the engagement of community gatekeepers/leaders as intervention partners within diverse communities.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Define community gatekeeper 2. List benefits of building relationships with community gatekeepers 3. Discuss need for culturally sensitive presentations in diverse communities

Keywords: Community Collaboration, Faith Community

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Director of the program about which I will speak - a breast cancer awareness program for African American commnities, and have formed many relationships with community gatekeepers.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.