Academic journal article ABNF Journal

A Four-Phase Program to Recruit African American Women into Breast Cancer Promotion Programs

Academic journal article ABNF Journal

A Four-Phase Program to Recruit African American Women into Breast Cancer Promotion Programs

Article excerpt

Abstract: The author discusses a successful, nursecoordinated collaborative community-based breast health program that targeted older African American women from the state of South Carolina. Over 16 community organizations and health care partners supported the four-phase program that was funded by the South Carolina Breast and Cervical Risk Reduction Program and the South Carolina Chapter of the American Cancer Society.

Key Words: South Carolina African American Women, Older Women over 50, Community Collaboration, Breast Health Promotion

n innovative, four-phase community-based breast health program that evolved over a two-year period,

was specifically geared toward older African American women in the state of South Carolina. The program was primarily based on a theoretical framework involving Afrocentrism (Asante, 1991) and Afrocentric feminist ways of knowing (Hill-Collins, 1990).

AFROCENTRISM Afrocentrism is a human science approach that focused on the lives and history of African Americans (Asante, 1991). Afrocentrism involves the way people view their relationship to nature, institutions, and other people; it constitutes the person's psychological orientation to life and can determine how one thinks and defines events (White & Parham, 1990). According to White and Parham, the African psychological perspective can be defined as a continually evolving discipline of science. It is attempting to study, analyze and define appropriate and inappropriate behaviors of Black and African people from an Afrocentric frame of reference.

According to White and Parham (1990), the African worldview is a holistic view of the human condition. They state that a resemblance exists between the African ethos and the African-American worldview in their emphasis on emotional vitality, interdependence, collective survival, oral tradition, perception of time, extended family networks, and harmonious blending. According to Baldwin (1996), several Afrocentrists have specified the following behaviors as being important in African-American culture: communication style; attitudes and health beliefs; music and dance; spirituality; and day-to-day survival (Nobles, 1972; White & Parham, 1990; Banks, 1992).

Afrocentric Women's Stand nint African American women have access to the Afrocentric and feminist consciousness that have stemmed from Caucasian male (and female) domination and oppression (Hill-Collins, 1990). Hence, the African-American woman's viewpoint reflects elements found in both traditions. This alternative way of knowing reveals that values and ideas that Afrocentrists identify as being characteristic of their culture often resemble similar ideas claimed by feminist scholars as being characteristically "female" (Hill-Collins). Afrocentric feminist knowledge is "rooted in the everyday experiences of African-American women" (Hill-Collins, p. 207).

African American women's thought is specialized and reflected in the content and themes of their experiences (Hill-Collins, 1990). However, because their efforts for self-definition have been suppressed by Caucasian males (and females), African-American women have used alternative sites for articulating the core themes of their feminist consciousness. Such avenues include music, literature, daily conversations, and everyday behavior (HillCollins). Thus, African-American women have developed a distinctive standpoint by using alternative ways of producing and validating knowledge. FOUR-PHASE PROGRAM TO RECRUIT AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN A four-phase breast health program was held in Greenville County over a two-year period that incorporated principles from Afrocentric feminist ways of knowing. This program was specifically targeted toward older African-American women and originated out of the Greenville Breast Cancer Task Force (formerly the Greenville Best Chance Network [BCN] Task Force). The Greenville Breast Cancer Task Force, formerly chaired by the author, works locally to promote breast health and detect breast cancer in its early stages, particularly in African-American women. …

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