Dr Rick Steinman was the chair of the Cancer Coalition, their mission was to promote cancer awareness and early detection of all cancer. During that time a community grant was written for education and screenings for the African American women. When the project ended, the women chose to continue, hence the birth of AAWSB, A brainstorm from the women unfolded the name: African American Women’s Speakers Bureau.
AAWSB started speaking wherever requested; churches, health fair’s, people’s homes, and traveled nationally; Iowa, Ohio, Washington D.C, New Jersey… just to name a few.
Peggy Tate, President
Amelia Harris, Secretary
Edith Smith, Treasurer
Helen Wilkins, Treasurer
Deacon Shirlee Lucas
The African American Women’s Speakers Bureau was the result of a funded project that was known as the Cancer Coalition. The Cancer Coalition was comprised of several organizations, some of which were; Allegheny General Hospital, Magee Women’s Hospital, The American Cancer Society, The Black Nurses Society and The Race for the Cure… just to name a few.
When someone would go out to speak they would go in teams, a nurse (that would deal with the education), and a peer educator (a cancer survivor). The peer educator would speak out and give her testimony of her journey with cancer…. these groups dispelled the myths.
Once the project ended, the peer educators were asked if they wanted to continue the project, the rest is history. Some of the women instrumental in continuing the project were; Eboni Hughes, Yvonne Durham, Deitra Neil Ferguson MSN, MPH, RN and Loretta Martin, LPN RN.