La Maestra Community Health Centers Receives a $50,000 Grant from Avon Breast Health Outreach Program (BHOP) for Breast Cancer Awareness

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Local Nonprofit, Health Center Recognized with Support from Avon’s National Program.

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"Through this program, La Maestra expects to provide approximately 650 mammograms, 650 clinical breast exams, and 1,500 women with breast health education.” - Sonia Tucker

The Avon Breast Health Outreach Program (BHOP) has awarded a $50,000 one-year grant to La Maestra Family Clinic, Inc. (doing business as La Maestra Community Health Centers) to increase awareness of the life-saving benefits of early detection of breast cancer. With this program, La Maestra hopes to increase the number of women receiving regular breast cancer screenings and increase knowledge about the importance of early breast cancer detection within San Diego’s underserved communities. It is the first year that the program has received funding from the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade to support its work on this important health issue.

The breast health program “Breast Cancer Education and Screening for Underserved Communities” at La Maestra will educate low-income, underserved women throughout central, south, and east San Diego and provide them access to low-cost or free mammograms and clinical breast exams in their own communities. The vital program will also provide comprehensive breast health education through one-on-one and group sessions emphasizing the importance of early cancer detection. The program will increase access to care by participating in community outreach events and providing breast cancer screenings where women live, work, play, and worship via the organization’s mobile mammography coach.

Since 2014, the breast health program at La Maestra has reached more than 5,000 women with screenings and information about the importance of early detection of breast cancer. Since 2012, the number of patients diagnosed with an abnormal breast finding has nearly doubled with a total of 551 patients diagnosed with abnormal findings in 2015. Every year, La Maestra refers an average of 20 women diagnosed with breast cancer to the University of California, San Diego Moores Cancer Center. Due to improved screenings the majority of these women were diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, which has the highest survivability and best health outcomes.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, 25,270 new cases of breast cancer are estimated to be detected in California this year and an estimated 4,320 lives will be lost. While advances have been made in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure, early detection still affords the best opportunity for successful treatment. Program such as La Maestra’s Breast Cancer Education and Screening for Underserved Communities ensures that all women with a particular focus on poor and medically underserved women have access to early detection information and options.

“La Maestra is honored that the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade has chosen to support our program and mission to increase access to care among low-income, underserved, and diverse populations within our community," said Sonia Tucker, Quality Improvement Director at La Maestra and the Breast Cancer Education and Screening Project Director. Tucker continues, “With these funds, La Maestra will be able to reduce barriers to care including those that result from cultural stigmas, translation, transportation issues, and the high cost of services. Through this program, La Maestra expects to provide approximately 650 mammograms, 650 clinical breast exams, and 1,500 women with breast health education.”

Since 1993, the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade has awarded more than 1,800 grants to community-based breast health programs across the United States, including the breast health program at La Maestra Community Health Centers. The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade awards funding to beneficiaries ranging from leading cancer centers to community-based grassroots breast health programs to support breast cancer research and access to care. Many programs are dedicated to educating underserved women about breast cancer and linking them to early detection screening services. Visit http://www.avonbhop.org for more information.

The Avon Breast Health Outreach Program is administered by Cicatelli Associates Inc. to support community-based, non-profit breast health programs across the country. The Fund’s National Advisory Board selected the La Maestra breast health program as one of the 56 new grant recipients nationwide in the 2017 cycle of Avon Breast Health Outreach Program grants. These organizations were chosen based on their ability to effectively reach women, particularly minority, low-income, and older women, who are often medically underserved.

For more information on the Breast Cancer Education and Screening Program at La Maestra, please call Sonia Tucker at 619-584-1612 ext. 3164 or stucker(at)lamaestra.org.

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The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade was born out of the Avon Foundation for Women, a 501(c)(3) public charity founded in 1955 to improve the lives of women and their families. The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade raises funds and awareness to advance breast cancer research and access to care, with a focus on the medically underserved. The Avon Breast Health Outreach Program‘s (BHOP) mission is to link low-income, under-insured, and other marginalized populations to easily accessible breast health education and screening services. For this reason, Avon BHOP has funded community outreach and breast cancer screening programs nationwide for 2017. To learn more about the Avon Breast Health Outreach Program, visit http://www.avonbhop.org

La Maestra Family Clinic, Inc. doing business as (d.b.a) La Maestra Community Health Centers (LMCHC) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) federally qualified health center. Through its award-winning Circle of Care™ model, LMCHC serves more than 41,000 people annually with medical, dental, optometry, mental health and imaging services, as well as legal advocacy, economic empowerment, and social services provided in collaboration with its sister nonprofit La Maestra Foundation. To learn more, please visit http://www.lamaestra.org

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Corinne Knutson
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