Heart, Body and Soul, a partnership of Clergy United for Renewal in East Baltimore and the Johns Hopkins Health System, has been awarded a grant from the National Alliance of Breast Center Organizations through NABCO's new Within Our Reach outreach program. The $48,569 one-year grant will fund a community-based partnership that trains lay church workers to promote breast health practices among their congregations and link them to screening, diagnostic and treatment services.
Heart, Body and Soul is dedicated to providing much-needed health-related services to the East Baltimore community.
Community health workers, specially trained by Hopkins medical staff, perform a variety of screening services to neighborhood residents each year for diseases including diabetes, blood pressure and depression. Services are provided at the Heart, Body and Soul office at 1430 E. Lanvale St., at prescheduled screenings throughout the community and through home visits.
"This program builds on the traditions of the African-American community by identifying lay advisers within the churches of East Baltimore," said James Zabora, associate director of Community Research, Johns Hopkins Oncology Services. "I believe that this program will be successful because it will be able to deliver health promotion messages by credible members of the faith community," he added. "NABCO should be acknowledged for its willingness to fund this new and unique approach to the early detection of breast cancer."
A core staff of Heart, Body and Soul community health workers who are specially trained in breast health will work closely with church lay health workers to recruit uninsured or underinsured African-American and Latina women over the age of 40. Recruitment strategies include door-to-door canvassing, informal gatherings, women's Bible study groups, special events and employment worksite presentations.
Eligible women recruited into the program will be referred to the Johns Hopkins Breast Center for free clinical breast exams and mammograms. If abnormalities are found, Heart, Body and Soul will link eligible women to the Johns Hopkins Breast Center for diagnostic and treatment services.
NABCO, the country's leading nonprofit resource for information and education about breast cancer, established Within Our Reach to offer grants and technical assistance to community-based nonprofit and university programs across the country.
Heart, Body and Soul is one of 12 grant recipients selected in the Within Our Reach program's inaugural year. In addition to supporting organizations with needed breast cancer education, early detection and appropriate follow-up services, NABCO supplements the cost of screening, abnormal imaging workups and enabling services, such as transportation and child care, in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.