In addition to shadowing in the clinic and in the operating room, I have been working on setting up breast health presentations to different groups of the Latino community. It has been a long time coming but yesterday our team did our first breast health presentation at a Spanish mass in Detroit.
In this blog I am going to talk a little bit about how I went about organizing the presentations, some obstacles I ran into, and parts that I think could be improved.
First, back in January when I first met Dr. Newman and we discussed what my summer would be looking like, we originally thought we would be presenting to different Spanish ESL classes. Previously, she did a talk to an Arabic ESL class and it went really well. As I started to look into different classes in the area, I discovered that most classes were a mix of Spanish-speakers and Arabic-speakers and because this project was aimed specifically at the Latino community, that narrowed the number of possible classes to nearly zero.
While trying to find Spanish-only ESL classes I ran across a church that offered mass in Spanish. I thought that would be a perfect place for us to do our presentation. Fortunately, I found many churches in the Detroit area that offer Spanish masses. So then I went about contacting the church either via email or via telephone. Most of the time it was very difficult to get a hold of anyone, let alone the person I need to talk to organize the presentation. In fact, many of the churches I ended up visiting in person to try to get the ball rolling. After a few month of gathering contact information I had compiled a list of several different places. Then came the easy part, which was just figuring out which dates and times worked for both the church and our team.
As I said before, we gave our first presentation yesterday and overall it went well for being our first one. However, I think there are several parts that could be improved. First, the presentation was not advertised as well as it should have been. We have about 12 people come to the presentation after mass when we were expecting 30-40. In the future, I think it would be better if a member of our team came to mass the weekend before and then the day of to give a short little speech about what the presentation will be about and why it is important to come.
Even though we had fewer people than we expected to come I think that the presentation was really successful because many of the women had a lot of good questions to ask and we were able to dismiss some myths that circulate around breast health and emphasize truths that are very important. I hope that in the future these presentations will continue to reach larger audiences and continue educating on such an important topic.
Here is a picture of St. Gabriel Church, the church we did our first presentation at: