In 2016, JALBCA awarded a $40,000 grant to the AMBER project.
New York is home to more Arab Americans than any other city in the United States. Barriers to breast cancer screening for this population include societal stigma, cost of testing, lack of health insurance, limited English proficiency, and a dearth of Arabic language health information. Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Arab American Breast Cancer Education and Referral Program (AMBER) is one example of a program making a marked difference in wellness and healthcare access for New York’s Arab population. AMBER improves breast cancer screening rates and treatment outcomes among Arab American women by providing culturally sensitive patient education and facilitating access to breast health and treatment services through Arabic speaking access facilitators. AMBER has partnerships with a variety of religious institutions, community-based organizations, and community leaders to facilitate trust among community members and increase outreach opportunities. The program’s services include Arabic-language breast health workshops for women and teens; participation in community health fairs; enrollment into New York State’s Health Benefit Exchange; patient navigation services for early detection and treatment services; cultural competency training for healthcare professionals who treat Arab American patients; and a breast cancer support program, facilitated by an Arabic-speaking clinical psychologist. In 2015, AMBER educated approximately 400 women and 180 teens through education initiatives; provided screening coordination to over 250 patients; supported 50 women with medical interpretation; and provided 20 breast cancer patients with navigation and support services to help them overcome barriers to complete their treatment. New to AMBER in 2016, a Breast Cancer Nutrition Education curriculum will be developed to educate breast cancer patients about a healthy diet during treatment and into survivorship, using culturally specific examples. AMBER makes valuable inroads into underserved communities, strengthening breast care services access and empowering them to improve their health and well-being.