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REACH program comes to Lowndes County

By Eason Franklin
The Lowndes Signal

The Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) Up and Out program held a meeting Monday morning for the African-American women of Lowndes County.

A small group of women gathered at the meeting to hear Coordinator Jennifer Cole speak about the different health risks women face.

“The overall program is designed to eliminate disparities between Caucasian and African-American women who die of cervical cancer,” said Cole.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham, while being represented by the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC) and the Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC), received funds granted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help in the establishment of the Mid-South Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Disparities (CEED) in breast and cervical cancer.

CEED helps to develop a detailed model that addresses disparities in breast and cervical cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and survivorship.

The many topics discussed at the meetings include information concerning the basics of nutrition, shopping and eating out, eating healthy on a budget, reading the food pyramid, physical activities and ways to cope with stress.

Women are encouraged to read labels for serving sizes, calorie counts, total fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and fiber content, not to mention healthy recipes that are shared at each meeting.

Cole is a 13-½ year survivor of breast cancer and is only one of the many people involved in this educational program throughout Alabama.

The program is also held in the counties of Choctaw, Sumter, Marengo, Dallas and Greene and is open to women ages 45-65 who are interested in learning tips to eliminate and reduce the risk of breast and cervical cancer.

CEED also covers six states in addition to Alabama, including Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee targeting primarily African-American populations.

These regions were selected based on health needs, the MHRC’s ability to access the public and the availability of partners to facilitate, implement and spread the community action plan.

“More Caucasian women are diagnosed with cancer every year than African-American women,” said Cole. “Although, more African-American women die as a result of cancer.”

Cole said she will visit and offer presentations about this program to any churches and civic groups who may be interested.

Classes for the REACH Up and Out program have been held in Ft. Deposit, Mosses and Hayneville and will continue throughout the remainder of the year.

Women who are interested in the program can contact Jennifer Cole at 334-227-4218.