The overriding goal of the Advocates Mentoring Advocates Training Program is to foster awareness and build knowledge about environmental exposures and breast cancer risk in underserved communities that may bear an unequal burden of risk and have few trusted sources of information. To this end, a Training Program and Toolkit were developed by a partnership between community breast cancer advocates and scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS). Leaders of two studies exploring how early life exposures to endocrine disrupting chemicals may contribute to breast cancer risk sough community partners to help them translate science-based information to lay audiences. The community partners were the Witness Project of Harlem (WPH), a faith-based breast and cervical cancer prevention education program based at ISMMS; the Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition (GNBCC); and the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition (HBCAC). The expertise and mentorship in environmental education and advocacy provided by the breast cancer advocates from Long Island was critical to the effectiveness and success of the program. Funding was provided by the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP), a long term initiative of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
The efficacy of the Advocates Mentoring Advocates program was demonstrated when trainees delivered their own community presentations to audiences in New York City. A brief pre- and post- test was used at these presentations to evaluate participants’ knowledge of breast cancer and the environment. A significant improvement in knowledge was documented.
This toolkit provides you and your organization with a model workshop Training Program that prepared African-American breast cancer advocates in New York City to develop a targeted and standardized education program on breast cancer and the environment and deliver it to women in Harlem, the Bronx, and Brooklyn. Participants in the Training Program were expected to learn:
- The potential environmental risk factors for breast cancer;
- Wat chemicals to avoid that are linked to breast cancer risk;
- How to choose safer products and practices to reduce exposure to chemicals that are linked to breast cancer;
- How to design and conduct their own workshop presentations on breast cancer and the environment tailored to cultural styles, language, education, and health literacy of the women and communities they sought to reach;
- How to communication information to people who influence policy on environmental conditions and on policies that are linked to breast cancer risk
Find out what the Witness Project of Harlem (WPH) members learned, in their own words.
The Toolkit includes:
- A step-by-step Guide to Developing a Successful Training Program
- Five PowerPoint presentations to train advocates and health educators about breast cancer and the environment and about actionable steps to reduce risk
- A standardized 50 minutes PowerPoint presentation about breast cancer and the environment developed with the Witness Project trainees for use in their community
- Reproducible handouts, targeted to cultural styles, language, and education of African-Americans in New York City
- Examples of simple tools used in program development such as focus group questions and evaluation questionnaires
For questions or comments about the Toolkit please contact:
Sarah Evans, PhD, MPH
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai