This Mother’s Day, May 9, thousands of women across the state of Illinois and surrounding states will participate in what has become a hallmark event of the Access Community Health Network-led Pin-A-Sister™/Examinate Comadre™ initiative.
Pin-A-Sister™/Examinate Comadre™ is a faith-based campaign using the “power of the pulpit” to encourage women to get mammography screenings. As you know, the church plays a vital role in the lives of African-Americans and Hispanics—mobilizing, informing and raising awareness about pertinent issues in our communities.
The program was launched in Chicago in 2007 and has grown rapidly—from 67,000 women being pinned and hearing the message in Illinois in 2007 to 500,000 women being pinned and hearing the message throughout the state by the year 2009. Additionally, the campaign has expanded outside of Illinois to Iowa, Kansas, South Carolina, Louisiana, West Virginia and Indiana. In fact, the Progressive National Baptist Convention encouraged its churches throughout the United States to hold Pin-A-Sister Sunday™ ceremonies in October. More than 20,000 women at 100 churches in 18 states were pinned and heard the message about receiving mammography screenings.
Also, in October 2009, a Pin-A-Sister™/Examinate Comadre™ ceremony was held for the first time on Capitol Hill, sponsored by the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the House Cancer Caucus.
This Mother’s Day, although assembled in hundreds of houses of worship, women will join in a sign of solidarity to:
- recognize breast cancer survivors
- allow them to briefly share their testimony
- encourage women to get mammography screenings
- allow women to pin each other with pink ribbons to symbolize their commitment to get screened
Pin-A-Sister™/Examinate Comadre™ began as a faith-based initiative but has expanded into a social network, where African-American and Hispanic women not only commit to receive Pap smears and mammograms, but also fellowship.
“Last year was our first year participating with Pin-A-Sister™/Examinate Comadre™, and it was phenomenal! It is extremely important that women of color are aware of how breast cancer is affecting our community,” said Pastor Jocelyn Thornton, pastor of Orland Park-based Emmanuel Covenant Church.
Throughout this year, ACCESS expects to reach more than 650,000 women throughout the state of Illinois and nationally. In Illinois for screenings, women are connected through the STAND Against Cancer program, a state-funded program that addresses racial and ethnic disparities in breast cancer awareness and treatment by targeting African-American, Hispanic and low-income and uninsured women. The program offers low-cost to free mammograms and Pap smears to eligible participants. Initiated in 2002, the program provides follow-up treatment through the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program.
Access Community Health Network is the lead sponsor of Pin-A-Sister™/Examinate Comadre™, with additional funding and support from The Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University; The Chicagoland Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®; American Cancer Society; A Silver Lining Foundation; Breast Cancer Network of Strength, formerly known as the Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization; Chicago Metropolitan Breast Cancer Task Force; and the Carl R. Hendrickson Family Foundation. The Illinois Department of Public Health is a collaborator of this initiative.
For more information about participation in Pin-A-Sister™/Examinate Comadre™, please contact us using the contact link above.
Access Community Health Network is comprised of nearly 60 Joint Commission-accredited community health centers throughout Chicago and surrounding suburbs. It provides high-quality, cost-effective, safe, comprehensive primary, preventive and specialty health care to more than 215,000 individual patients annually, one-third of whom are uninsured. Visit the Web site at accesscommunityhealth.net or follow ACCESS on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ACCESSHealth.