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UTHSC to Host African-American Women’s Breast Cancer Summit Feb. 7

The “Live! Just As We Are” logo was created to symbolize the beauty and transformative power that women must draw upon to survive and thrive against breast cancer.
The “Live! Just As We Are” logo was created to symbolize the beauty and transformative power that women must draw upon to survive and thrive against breast cancer.

Local Coalition to Welcome 500 Black Women to Feb. 7 Summit

The Research Center on Health Disparities, Equity and the Exposome (RCHDEE) at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) has convened a Breast Cancer Awareness and Action Coalition that includes 11 local and state health care, civic and community organizations. The coalition’s shared goals are to arm African-American women with information to prevent breast cancer’s deadly impact and to encourage best practices in early detection, screening and treatment of the disease. Collaborating with the UTHSC RCHDEE are coalition members from Common Table Health Alliance; Shelby County (TN), The Links, Incorporated; Tennessee Department of Health, Office of Minority Health and Disparities Elimination; Carin’ and Sharin’ Breast Cancer Education and Support Group; Sisters Network Memphis Chapter; Surviving, Thriving, African-Americans Rallying Support Group (STAARS); Seeds2 Life, Inc.; Community Action Team of Shelby County (CATS); Community Health Advisory Specialty (CHAS), American Cancer Society; The Church Health Center; Tennessee Cancer Coalition (TC2); Tennessee Men’s Health Network and the Faith Health Division of Methodist Healthcare.

“Together, we are committed to the reduction of breast cancer’s mortality rate by increasing awareness and action among black women, the population that discovers the disease much later and dies from it much earlier than any other group in our region,” said Patricia Matthews-Juarez, PhD, co-director of the Research Center on Health Disparities, Equity and the Exposome.

On Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the coalition will hold a summit titled, “LIVE! African-American Women Surviving Breast Cancer through Education, Early Detection, Screening and Treatment.” Designed to unite, support and empower, this event will gather a group of 500 black women of varying ages, education levels and socioeconomic backgrounds at the UTHSC campus. The event will include breast cancer survivors, women who consider themselves at risk for the disease, and those whose lives have been altered or touched in some way by breast cancer.

The summit will be held at the UTHSC Student-Alumni Center at 800 Madison Avenue. Registered participants may attend at no cost. All participants must register in advance at: uthsc.edu/live-just-as-we-are-registration or by contacting Mario King at 448-1681 or mking49@uthsc.edu ,

During the summit, each registered participant will receive a range of free personal care services (e.g., manicures and seated mini-massages), complimentary refreshments (including breakfast and lunch), a gift bag filled with useful items for the women and/or their children, plus access to a variety of health care industry vendors. The event will culminate in an educational and motivational presentation that will focus on the need for each participant to become an advocate for breast cancer education, early detection, screening and treatment among her family, friends and community.

Months before the summit convenes, UTHSC will arrange for free photo sessions for every registered participant, plus each participant will be asked to submit data for a brief biographical sketch. The Breast Cancer Awareness and Action Coalition will use the bios and photos to create a special exhibit titled: “LIVE! Just As We Are!” The exhibit will be hosted at locations throughout the city, starting at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library during Black History Month in February 2015. The “LIVE! Just As We Are!” exhibit will also include an online component with selected exhibit materials posted on a website and through social media. Follow on Facebook at facebook.com/LiveJustAsWeAre or on Twitter at twitter.com/just_ar1.

Local businesses, civic and community organizations are underwriting the approximate $100 expense for each participant. To become a sponsor, contact Dr. Matthews-Juarez via phone: (901) 448-7226 or email: pmatthe3@uthsc.edu.