The Jeanette Acosta Invest in Women’s Health Act of 2021 Will Increase Availability to Cancer Screenings, Expand Access to Preventive Services, and Train Health Practitioners
Washington, D.C. – (April 6, 2021) – The Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) is proud to support the Jeanette Acosta Invest in Women’s Health Act of 2021, introduced by Congressman Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). Jeanette Acosta was a fierce advocate for social justice, immigrant rights and education reform, and a former congressional staffer, who died from cervical cancer at the age of 32.
Cervical and ovarian cancers are among the most destructive gynecological forms of cancer, and Black women bear a disproportionate burden of cancer compared with other groups. Each year, approximately 2,000 African American women are diagnosed with cervical cancer. The mortality of Black ovarian cancer patients is 1.3 times higher, compared to their white counterparts. Lack of access to healthcare among Black women living in medically underserved areas prevents early detection and treatment of gynecological cancers, resulting in staggering inequalities in gynecological cancer mortality.
The proposed legislation aims to increase women’s access to preventive and life-saving cancer screenings, such as clinical breast examinations and cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar cancer screenings. If detected early, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable cancers. Increasing screening rates could greatly reduce premature deaths from cervical, ovarian and other gynecological cancers among Black women.
“Our commitment to women of color ensures this legislation addresses the need for cultural sensitivity and unconscious bias training, which is a vital component to delivering life-saving, comprehensive preventive care to women who not only need it, but deserve it,” said Linda Goler Blount, president and CEO of BWHI. Disparities are likely to intensify unless a concerted effort is made to address current barriers such as cultural awareness and implicit bias training in cancer screening and research. Notably, this legislation will increase cancer health literacy and access to culturally competent health care providers.
BWHI strongly supports this legislation that ensures access to quality cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment are available, especially to the women of color who are in the greatest need of these critical health care services. Through this legislation, BWHI will continue to advocate for the health equity and the well-being of the nation’s Black women and girls.
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Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI)