Students Offer Breast Health Event

We received this incredibly thoughtful thank you note following a few of our BSN students completing a voluntary mammagram event to benefit underserved women in Spokane. Read on to learn what Heather and Janet did, and then see the note from Heather.

Heather Roberts and Janet Meacham, both seniors who graduated with their BSN from the college in May, organized and hosted a women’s breast health event at Women Children Free Restaurant (WCFR) Spokane’s West Central neighborhood during their final semester this past spring.  Approximately 21 women from the Spokane area benefitted, receiving free mammograms and other breast health services. Twenty-five percent of the women had mammograms for the first time and 30% of them were uninsured.

 “Women don’t realize breast cancer is so detectable,” said Roberts, “and this was something we could do as nursing students to make a difference for women in Spokane.”

Roberts and Meacham reached out to potential community partners to coordinate efforts. Partners included Check Your Boobies, Amerigroup, Providence Health & Services, Cancer Care Northwest, Catholic Charities, the Community Nursing Endowment Fund, and the Women’s & Children’s Free Restaurant. The organizations were quick to support the students’ efforts as the event served Spokane’s high-need transient and low-income working populations. Dinner was served by the Women’s and Children’s Free Restaurant following the event.

The event was open to all Spokane women, and the only requirement was they needed to have a primary care provider to send the results. Prior to the event, many were connected to CHAS to establish a provider.

With Roberts’ and Maecham’s determination and the communities’ support, they were able to provide:

  • Free transportation to the event
  • Mammograms through the Providence Mobile Mammography Coach
  • Refreshments
  • Educational breast health materials, including a breast cancer detection video
  • Manikins with prosthetic breasts for patients to practice self-examination and learn what an unhealthy breast might feel like
  • Blood pressure and screening by the J1 volunteers, and
  • Dinner

Their clinical instructor, Kawkab Shishani, supported their efforts from the beginning.

“One of the values the college embraces is social justice. Heather and Janet conducted a literature review to identify the needs of socio-economically disadvantaged women at the Women’s and Children’s Free Restaurant. Utilization of the most up-to-date research showed them the health disparities that exist among women with low socio-economic status. They went above and beyond in translating the evidence generated from the research into a cost-effective outreach activity. This was their idea, and I am so proud that they took the initiative to care for this underserved population,” Shishani said.

“It was a tremendous amount of work in addition to completing coursework. Janet and Heather illustrate the critical importance of community health nurses.”

View event photos.

And look at this team who made it possible! A note from the students:

I just want to send a thank you to everyone who participated in, and made possible our Women’s Breast Health Event.  We were able to give 21 mammograms free of cost!

Thank you to Kayla and Deborah from Check your Boobies for coming to educate our ladies!

Lauren rom Amerigroup for securing the funds so that we could offer free transportation to/from the mammograms.  Also, for being available to our clients during the event.

Sue McFadden and her J1 clinical group for being available to offer heart health screenings.

Karen for making possible our access to the facility.

Kawkab Shishani for being our clinical instructor and encouraging us in the organization of this event.

Our S2 clinical group for helping us find clients to take advantage of our free mammography.

Providence Mobile Mammography Coach for providing free mammography.  Lana and Steve, you are awesome!

Pastors of Christ our Hope Bible church for letting us use their facilities.

Alli Benjamin for taking the time to write an upcoming article about our event.

The Denny Murphy fund at WSU for providing breast self-exam models and education, posters for the event, and refreshments.