Your Dollars, Making an Impact: Breast Health Education & Screening for Asian Women

Ever wonder how your donation dollars help? Where does the money go and who does it directly help? Komen Columbus has a proud tradition of partnering with many organizations to help men and women who are underserved and uninsured in our 30-county service area. This year alone, we granted nearly $2 million to support 34 programs in Central and Southeastern Ohio communities. This milestone moment would not be possible without the generosity of our sponsors, Race participants and all those people who give to Komen Columbus. For the next few weeks, we will feature our grantees so you can see and read how your dollars are making an impact.

Guest Writer: Molly Osmon

Breast health education and early screenings are vital to all women, regardless of race or ethnicity. However, many women of a different cultural background living in the United States do not have easy access to breast health education and screening services because of a cultural barrier or a lack of financial resources. But, there is one organization working to improve the quality of services these women receive.

The Asian American Community Services Council (AACS) works to serve the needs of Asian Americans living in Central Ohio. Since 1976, AACS has been improving and developing the Asian community through its expansive and proactive programs and services. The needs in the Asian community are rooted in cultural, educational and language barriers; and AASC seeks to educate the community and create a better quality of life, regardless of citizenship status, cultural ethnicity and socioeconomic level. AACS does this through four areas of development: community education, health care and prevention, interpreting and translation and youth and family. In 2007, Komen Columbus awarded AACS a grant to implement a program that would provide quality breast health education and screening services to Asian American women living in Central Ohio.

AACS is the only organization in the Central Ohio area with such a program that is providing these types of services to this population of women; and it is the only program that provides services designed to specific to Asian Americans. Breast Health Education & Screening for Asian Women (BHESAW) provides women over the age of 35 with education on the importance of a yearly mammogram and with mammogram services. All services are provided at no cost.

Before going into a community, BHESAW works to build a relationship with the women to gain their trust before attempting to provide any sort of service. BHESAW then works with professionals who are able to speak the various languages of the many Asian subcultures; and these professionals are able to provide services that are culturally competent. By providing services that are culturally relevant, the women served feel safe and willing to allow BHESAW to come into their communities and provide support.

Since the program’s inception, it has been very successful; and over the course of five years, it has screened more than 700 women and provided education to more than 5,000 women. Since the program has been so successful and has been able to reach thousands of women, BHESAW couldn’t be more appreciative to Komen Columbus for helping to make the program possible. BHESAW is completely funded by Komen Columbus, and without Komen’s support, the program would only be able to provide education services as opposed to education and screening services.

“Without this project, the women we serve would not have access to these vital services,” said Cora Munoz, associate professor of nursing at Capital University.

BHESAW is truly improving the lives of Asian American women living in the Central Ohio community; and funding from Komen Columbus not only allows the program to be successful but allows AACS to further its mission of supporting the Asian American community by providing culturally competent services.

“Please continue to support Komen. Your dollars go much further than you could ever imagine. You can make a difference.”

For a complete list of all our Komen Columbus grantees and the services and programs they provide, click here. Read about other Komen Columbus Community Health Grantees here.