The YWCA’s Women Health Advocacy Services program (WHAS) has been working to help women and families access vital health services since 1993. WHAS programs take a grass roots approach to helping women who lack access to health care and essential health information—often due to disparities related to poverty or race – secure the services they and their families need to stay healthy and prevent or detect diseases such as breast and cervical cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes in their earliest stages.
The WHAS staff is all bilingual and have extensive knowledge of community resources and needs. WHAS services include:
- Breast & Cervical Cancer Education, Outreach and Linkage;
- Linkage to health insurance and health screenings such as mammography screenings and pap tests;
- Removing obstacles to accessing treatment by assisting with transportation, translation, child care and accompaniment to appointments;
- Effective, evidence-based programs such as the Stanford Chronic Disease Self Management classes, and My Life, My Health [Mi Vida/Mi Tiempo], that provide the tools for participants to take charge of and improve their health;
- Charlas [small groups], where trained Health Ambassadors provide educational presentations, health information, and support throughout the community;
- Providing educational presentations, public education, health information and workshops at a variety of health fairs, and festivals throughout the region;
- Through a contract with the City of Lawrence, coordinate the Mayor’s Health Task Force, an active coalition of 90 nonprofits, health care providers, government agencies and concerned citizens working together to address and improve community health disparities* through the well-being of all citizens.
Quotes from some of our workshop participants:
From Carmen, a participant in the Stanford Chronic Disease Self-Management program:
“This program helped me appreciate my life and my health. Instructors helped us lift our self-esteem and helped us all learn how to take control of our health.”
From Ana, a participant in the Stanford Chronic Disease Self-Management program:
“It is important to have this program in our community, to raise awareness…I would recommend this program. I’m happy with everything I learned.”
From Sylvie, a participant in the Mi Vida/Mi Tiempo program:
“What I learned in this program has changed my life. I’m very grateful to Evelyn and Yashira for presenting this program.”
*Definition of Health Disparities:
“A particular type of health difference that is closely linked with social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantage. Health disparities adversely affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater obstacles to health based on their racial or ethnic group; religion; socioeconomic status; gender; age; mental health; cognitive, sensory, or physical disability; sexual orientation; geographic location; or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion.” From the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.