WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- As many of you saw when 9News Now's JC Hayward first announced her diagnosis the groundswell of support she received from everyone in the community, and support cornerstone of a new initiative that just got off the ground at the Howard University Cancer Center.
It's called "Women of Promise. " The project is funded, over the next two years, by a $200,000 grant from Komen. The target group is women ages 20 to 74 with an aggressive outreach to those living in DC Wards 7 and 8.
Dr. Carla Williams, the project director, told us, "We're especially looking for those women who have not had a screening in the past two years. So they have been disconnected and we want to get them back in care."
Dr. Williams says volunteer ambassadors known as "Women of Promise" will act as Buddies to at least two of their peers. They will encourage and support them in getting a mammogram and educate them about Early Detection as a healthy choice for life.
"DC really still experiences a lot of cancer disparities, especially in breast cancer. A woman living in Ward 5 or 8 is twice as likely to die from breast cancer as a woman in Ward 3. We figured one of the best ways to reach those women is to pair them with other women they already know and trust," shared Williams.
Women of Promise hopes to reach more than 2,000 women. Having at least 70% of them actually getting a mammogram will be a clear measure of success.
"That's a really tall order. Women often times, even if we reach them with information, they don't make that transition to care. So that's really our benchmark--how many women are we actually getting into screening," said Dr. Williams.