The “Me First”Breast Cancer Awareness, Education and Support Program is an ongoing effort of the African Family Health Organization (AFAHO) aimed at addressing an unmet need for breast health information, education and access to screenings among underserved African and Caribbean immigrant and refugee women (ACIRW) in the greater Philadelphia area. At particular risk within these populations are vulnerable women whose multiple barriers to care including Limited English Proficiency (LEP), lack of health insurance, legal status concerns and fear of navigating the U.S. healthcare system limit their access to breast health services. The key elements of the Me First program involve removing barriers to care, increasing awareness and education and facilitating access to screening for a largely under served population.
The primary activities of this program include education and information dissemination about breast health and breast health resources and assisting clients in mitigating their barriers to care to increase their screening rates and encourage early diagnosis. We also assist diagnosed women in navigating the healthcare system to receive treatment and care. To accomplish these tasks, we conduct outreach to recruit new women for the program; create multi-lingual educational materials and use story-telling to host regular breast health education sessions at venues including braiding salons, churches, mosques and homes.