As much as Samira Manni loves her cousin, she doesn’t want to be like her. Despite having medical insurance and reaching her mid-40s, her cousin never bothered to get a yearly mammogram until she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
| Nail technician Samira Manni is on track with mammograms
thanks to Beaumont's Minority Outreach Program, coordinated
by Monty Fakhouri.
Samira, 47, who does manicures and pedicures in her sister’s hair salon, has no insurance. But after attending a forum sponsored by Beaumont’s Minority Outreach Program, getting a mammogram became easier, after Monty Fakhouri, program coordinator, arranged a free mammogram for her.
Since its start in 2003, the Cancer Institute’s Minority Outreach Program has hosted more than 30 events like the forum Samira attended, providing culture-specific cancer education to more than 5,000 participants. Like Samira, who is from Iraq, more than 700 of the attendees have received diagnostic cancer screenings as a result.
From its first minority cancer forum – for the African-American community – the MOP has targeted the largest or fastest-growing ethnic populations in Metropolitan Detroit. Because the area is home to perhaps the largest Arab community outside of the Middle East, Beaumont held the first-ever forum for the Arab-American and Chaldean communities in 2005. The system then introduced forums for the region’s quickly expanding Hispanic and Latino-American population in 2007, and the next year added a session focusing on the Southeast Asian community. The same year, forums began for Native Americans, too.
The MOP has partnered with ethnic, faith-based, community, health and human services organizations; community advocates; business leaders; and the media in its outreach efforts. It’s won the Michigan Cancer Consortium’s Spirit of Collaboration award three times as a result.
Funded in part by Beaumont’s Community Clinical Oncology Program, the MOP has also received financial support from the Michigan Department of Community Health; the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Metro Health Care Cancer Research and Prevention foundations; the Michigan Physicians of Indian Origin; and generous individuals in its targeted populations.
“One of our strategies has been to seek out Beaumont doctors and support staff who speak the language of the populations we include,” says Monty, who is of Jordanian descent and speaks Arabic and some Chaldean.
In 2008, the MOP “went national” and presented a poster at the Centers for Disease Control Cancer Conference in Atlanta.
And the top-tier medical journal Cancer published a 2011 article titled “Increasing Accrual in Cancer Clinical Trials with a Focus on Minority Enrollment,” which concluded minority enrollment in cancer research at Beaumont more than doubled in the first seven years of the MOP.
“With our efforts to build trust within the communities the MOP includes, we’ve been able to provide early-detection screening for hundreds of people. That’s our No. 1 success,” says Fakhouri. “Our hope is that the presentations and publications provide inspiration and practical information for others.”
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