Viva Mujer is a grant-funded program at Lincoln Hospital. This program is designed to improve timely mammography, Pap smear, and related screening and preventive health care activities for women. A key program component involves use of volunteer Community Health Educators (CHE), which are unpaid volunteers concerned about the health of their neighbors and trained to provide education, advocacy, and case management assistance with targeted patients. The purpose of the program is to reach out to minority women at Lincoln Hospital and women living in the South Bronx who have not had breast or cervical cancer screening done in the past two years.
The volunteers are currently providing services through this program that are directly beneficial to the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center and its patients. Some of the services include assisting in scheduling patients’ appointments, completing referral forms, calling patients a day in advance to remind them of upcoming appointments, and calling patients at home to follow up regarding missed appointments.
These volunteers also assist patients in completing Medicaid and other medical coverage applications, provide Spanish and English translation services, escort individuals to various clinics at Lincoln, and provide general assistance related to accessing medical services and navigating the health care system.
The Viva Mujer volunteers also educate patients regarding the importance of preventive health care and provide outreach in the community an average of once a week. Along with the normal fears and misunderstandings about breast and cervical cancer screening, the volunteers at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center have had to overcome many socio-cultural and language barriers in their efforts to reach out to the inner city women. The time they dedicate to making a difference results in women being healthier and living longer.