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Women's Health Care Education Project

Consistent with the goals set forth in its campaign to educate a population at risk for Breast Cancer, Bikur Cholim / Partners In Health has developed a unique approach to teach and encourage women how to do a proper breast self-exam (BSE).

The Women’s Health Care Division conducts pre-scheduled workshops in local neighborhoods throughout the New York Metro area including Orange, Rockland Sullivan, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties.

The program was developed specifically for women in an effort to combat the ignorance, cultural taboos and fear of what they may find, which often prevents them from performing the quick and simple self-exam. The most effective way to fight breast cancer is to detect it early. Our workshops, staffed by registered nurses and health educators, teach women the techniques of breast self-exam and about early detection of breast cancer at treatable stages, thereby saving lives.

The program includes the health educator’s presentation (providing factual and objective information as well as personal aspects), a clear and straightforward film presentation (demonstrating what women need to know in order to do a proper self-exam), breast models (to practice the techniques learned as well as to discern what it is they are looking for), a question and answer session (to encourage the women to discuss and express their concerns), and informational literature. Great care is taken to treat the subject respectfully, clearly, concisely and with great sensitivity. This forum enables women to absorb the subject comfortably and easily, thereby helping them to break the barrier of fear surrounding this issue.

The workshop sessions typically consist of women who come from similar geographic, social, religious or professional affiliation. We find it most effective to keep the groups small, with a maximum of 25-30 participants, if possible. Because the subject is a personal one women feel comfortable asking questions and discussing the topic with fewer women present and in the presence of those whom they know.

Each participant is requested to complete a confidential questionnaire. The information provided will be entered into a database that will yield important information in the research to help combat this devastating illness. For those women who wish to be reminded to schedule their mammogram, we have provided a mammogram reminder card for them to complete. To ensure that we do not become complacent and so that we may strive to constantly improve our presentation, we monitor ourselves by requesting that each participant complete a confidential evaluation card indicating their opinion regarding various aspects of the workshop..

Since the inception of the program in the summer of 2000, over 20,000 women have participated and received the message that Early Detection Saves Lives. Women feel empowered knowing that they possess information that can help to either prevent disease or catch it at its early stage. We stress that while the incidence rate of breast cancer is rising, the mortality rate is declining—accounted for by increased education, detection and screening.

Though fear of the topic still exists, all women who have attended the workshops have expressed gratitude and appreciation for the instructive information received. Women have called to share their medical experiences following their participation in the sessions. Several women have called, following our sessions, with concerns related to what course to follow as a result of finding something suspicious when performing BSE. We are in constant touch with them, helping them to deal with the issue, both psychologically and emotionally, as well as connecting them with our medical referral department.

We have been thanked for the “…tremendous service to the community…” The subject is presented clearly and modestly, always bearing in mind the personal and intimate nature of the subject. To quote one of our many participants, “…the nurses are approachable and establish a rapport with the group.” The women who attend feel comfortable asking questions and expressing concerns. A significant comment was made by a recent participant, “How can we make our young women aware of this, and not wait until it’s too late?”

In our continuing effort to reach out to women of all ages we have instituted a new program for High School Seniors and College students called Starting Healthy. Our trained nurses who are health educators teach the girls the importance of good nutrition, exercise and the importance of doing a breast self-exam. We feel that since girls don’t have to be concerned about finding anything worrisome they will not have the fear that sometimes accompanies learning how to do a breast self-exam.

Our goal is to continue to bring the message that “Early Detection Saves Lives” to as many women as possible. Our commitment to this project is to do whatever is needed to save lives and reduce the incidence of breast cancer deaths, until, hopefully, our mission has been fulfilled.

Call us at:
845.425.7877 Ext. 118

“I want you to know that they made me aware of this self-exam.  This awareness wake up call really got to me and I found a lump that I would never have known was there if not for me being taught by these nurses.  … I’m having surgery in a couple of days….Don’t give up and don’t get tired it’s very important for you to continue…
Thanks again,
                       C.R., Brooklyn, N.Y.    

“About a week ago, I was the beneficiary of your services.  We had a session on breast cancer prevention and awareness.  Many of us.. are entering our 40’s, have been making resolutions in terms of our own health.  We know that mothers are truly irreplaceable and we must take care of our health. Your presentation was timely and appropriate for all of us.  
Please accept my personal thanks.”
                       M.L., New York   

…Just a small note in appreciation for your presentation to our twelfth graders.
You were informative, interesting, and educational.  You addressed adult topics to young girls in a way that showed how sensitive you are to their needs…and that the school allows the presentation to take place instead of a major regents subject, stresses to the girls that protecting one’s
health is a concept of paramount importance in their lives                                      F.G. ,Brooklyn, N.Y.
Bikur Cholim Partners in Health:
Health Info &
Center for Applied Psychology
The Center for Applied Psychology (CAPs)-Bikur Cholim's comprehensive mental
health division - offers a

full range of high quality clinical services andprograms
to the community.
Yedi Chesed provides an array of services to individuals, both children and adults, with developmental disabilities and their family members.
Founded to bring enjoyment to the hospitalized or homebound patients, Project H.O.P.E. is the realization of an often overlooked need within our community.

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