Komen Philadelphia Leads Pioneering Outreach Program at Esperanza College

ESPERANZA: HOPE FOR GENERATIONS — A First-of-its-kind two-year breast health initiative for Latina women launched early September, 2014.  

About the project     Project objectives     Implementation

Esperanza 1 copySusan G. Komen Philadelphia has innovated a unique, program leveraging the community, reach and educational resources of Esperanza College of Eastern University with a goal of motivating students to champion better breast health in their communities – especially among low-income Latina women – while also, while preparing the next generation of breast cancer outreach service providers. By implementing their college-based community health educator program at the College, Komen Philadelphia hopes to also motivate families in North Philadelphia to take charge of their breast health by calming fears related to screening, encouraging discussion of medical family history, and providing access to breast health support services. The community health education program aims to empower individuals from the target community with education about the importance of breast self-awareness and screenings in a non-threatening, informal environment using language, examples and activities that resonate with their audience. 

Komen Philadelphia chose Esperanza College for its integrity, devotion to advancing the health, wellness and future of the Hispanic community, and focus on providing access to affordable, culturally appropriate education. 

“This is such a powerful partnership because both Komen Philadelphia and Esperanza College share the age-old philosophy: Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” said Elaine I. Grobman, CEO, Susan G. Komen Philadelphia. “Yes, of course, we’re helping to provide Latinas in need with vital breast health services that will save lives today. But we’re also focused on laying the foundations that allow generation after generation to have increasingly better odds of surviving breast cancer. We’re cultivating hundreds of advocates to be vocal in educating and motivating others to take care of their breast health… and make it a part of a lifestyle they will pass on to their daughters and granddaughters.”

 Grobman went on to say the Esperanza College program was an outgrowth of Komen Philadelphia’s very successful Latinas United for the Cure – an outreach program offered in their fifteen-county service area that is mainly focused on an annual event that attracts 1,500-2,000 women. The program’s success in providing culturally appropriate breast health education and survivor support, as well as celebration of the power to survive, demonstrated to Komen Philadelphia that even more could be done by providing similar outreach specified for Latina communities identified as having a more urgent need for it.

“In the past six months, we’ve had several meetings with leaders from Latino service organizations in our area; their feedback indicated that Latinas United for the Cure represented a signature event that could be best served with local, more personal activities throughout the year,” said Grobman. “We were told that this technique would make a more powerful impact on the Latina community by meeting them in settings that are most familiar to them.  Esperanza College is an ideal partner to have in beginning this endeavor as they have a long-standing reputation and shared mission of improving the overall health and wellbeing of Latinos in North Philadelphia. 

With this approach, Komen Philadelphia and Esperanza College expect that individuals reached by this project will demonstrate significant improvements in awareness about breast self-awareness messages, stated intention to sign up for screenings, and increased referrals made to Komen Philadelphia for additional service and support.

 Grobman couldn’t emphasize enough the importance of providing the knowledge in safe, comfortable environments conducive to achieving the desired outcomes.

 “We will educate in ‘home’ settings, which inherently build comfort into the education process and increase success levels it the knowledge being remembered and put into action.,” said Grobman. “We will also utilize community settings, such as Health Department centers, federally qualified centers and others that are considered safe and trustworthy by the Hispanic community.”


Project Vision & Objectives

Komen Philadelphia Community Health & Education Program Coordinator, Jackie Greggs-Walden

Komen Philadelphia and its community health partners will use a number of opportunities throughout the project to determine the effectiveness and value of the Esperanza College program.  The program’s two-year objectives include serving over 320 women through:

 Increase key breast health knowledge by more than 50%

  • “Intent to Act” cards submission by 75% of participants (240 people)
  • Conduct 40 breast health groups of at least three participants each at community/health center settings
  • Conduct 200 one-on-one education encounters
  • Refer 80 participants to a local provider for breast services; Komen Philadelphia pays for free mammograms and treatment if needed
  • Follow up with 100% of the women who provided contact info (250 people) and track completion of medically-based intent to act items (30-91+days)
  • Undergo process evaluation during summers to identify improvements
  • Develop College-Based Breast Health Advocate Tool Kit


Komen Philadelphia Program Director, Grants & Public Policy, Carlos Hernandez

Komen Philadelphia Program Director, Grants & Public Policy, Carlos Hernandez

As part of the two-year project, Komen Philadelphia will establish cycles of education, which will also offer college credits for participants from Esperanza College. These students will then become Breast Health Advocates (BHA) who “carry out the mission for generations.” The outline of tactics for the project include:

  •  Introduction: Introduce Breast Cancer 101 and College-Based Program to Esperanza College students
  • Recruitment: Recruit up to 30 students to become Komen community health educators
  • Learning Phase: Will include breast self-awareness messages, delivering BC101 to different audiences/settings, role playing, using Komen Philadelphia Resource and Referral Guide, and competency quiz
  • Observation Training: Philadelphia Department of Public Health site visits, tour and shadowing opportunity
  • Outreach/Education Sessions:  Community health educators will utilize training to deliver education in ‘home’ and community settings while collecting pre- and post-tests and Intent to Act cards
  • Outreach/Education Follow Up: For BHAs that collect Intent to Act cards with participant contact information, Komen Philadelphia will follow-up to see if the participants completed their medically-related actions
  • Ongoing Supervision/Oversight:  Komen Philadelphia will be available to answer any BHA questions that arise in monthly supervision visits/phone calls; monthly supervision visits may include speaker visits from local physicians or breast cancer survivors to enhance learning.  May also include self-evaluation of video recording of home education sessions.
  • Latinas United for the Cure Recognition:  Esperanza partners and BSAs will be recognized at Latinas United for the Cure with an acknowledgment ceremony and dedicated breakout session.
  • College-Based BHA Tool Kit:  During the summers of 2015 and 2016, Komen Philadelphia and partners will undergo a process evaluation to determine strengths and challenges of the program.  At the conclusion of the funding period, Komen Philadelphia will develop a College-Based BHA Tool Kit that will be used for other affiliates and external programs to develop their own programs based on best practices and challenges learned from this process.


About Esperanza College

Esperanza College of Eastern University is an accredited college that seeks to provide members of the Hispanic and local community a Christian faith-based education that is affordable and culturally appropriate so that they can continue their contributions to and leadership in their communities and become even more effective. Dedicated to the service of the Hispanic and local communities, Esperanza seeks to enhance the knowledge, skills, and outlook of young people and adults so that they can live even more thoughtful, positive, productive, and purposeful lives.

Envisioned by Reverend Luis Cortés, Jr. in 1996, Esperanza College continues to achieve its mission through the integration of faith, reason and justice, and acknowledge the importance of forming this integration within the academic program, in its instruction, and in the learning of its students. Additional information at

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