GulfCoast3

Gulfcoast South Area Health Education Center, Inc. (GSAHEC), is providing colorectal and prostate cancer education and promoting preventive behaviors among medically underserved Hispanics/Latinos and African Americans in Manatee and Sarasota counties, Florida. The organization was awarded a $25,000 grant through the Foundations 2011 Community Grants program.

The Turning the Tides project aims to reach over 2,200 underserved community members with colorectal cancer and prostate health awareness education and referrals. The incidence rates for both cancers are higher than state averages, in the two targeted counties. Community Health Workers (CHWs) were trained in February of this year and are reaching out to community members at health fairs and community events, with culturally appropriate and easy-to-understand information. The Community Health Workers are community members themselves and easily approachable. The educational sessions are being held in homes, churches, clinics and community settings.

As of June 30th,  CHWs provided presentations on colorectal cancer to 126 participants, reached over 500 community members with information on both colorectal and prostate cancers, and facilitated “Men’s Health Awareness Sunday” on Father’s Day raising awareness on prostate cancer in 25 churches reaching 1,095 congregation members.

GSAHEC is a not for profit organization established in 1995. Its mission is to establish community-academic partnerships for the health of the underserved. GSAHEC is a member of the National Area Health Education Center Organization (NAO) which represents over 200 centers in almost all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Developed by Congress in 1971, the AHEC program helps to bring resources of academic medicine to bear in addressing local community health needs and disparities. AHEC programs play a vital role in serving local communities and strengthening the nation’s health care safety net.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation is proud to support the work of GSAHEC to turn the tides on the high rates of colorectal and prostate cancer in two Florida counties by raising awareness, promoting preventative behaviors and connecting individuals to screening services.