Poder y Vida

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among Latinas. In Oregon, Latinas have a higher percentage of late stage breast cancer diagnosis than average, while breast cancer screening rates for Latinas nationally have been lower than average. These disparities, coupled with the rapid growth of the Latino population in our region, have made Latinas a high priority for Komen.

View our Spanish Breast Health Messages
Multimedia courtesy of KUNP Univision-MUNDOFox

Komen’s Fotnovela:
Nos Queda Mucha Vida Que Disfrutar La Prevencion Es Clave


 Thank you to our major partners


Jackson Foundation
Juan Young Trust
Meyer Memorial Trust
Oregon Community Foundation
Project Access NOW
Reser Family Foundation
Spirit Mountain Community Fund
The Collins Foundation
The Standard Charitable Foundation
Walgreens Foundation
Wells Fargo Foundation
Wessinger Foundation
Wheeler Foundation


What is Poder y Vida?

Conducted from 2014-2018, Poder y Vida, or the Latina Initiative, was a culturally specific initiative to advance breast health equity focused on decreasing late stage breast cancer diagnoses among Latinas in NW Oregon and SW Washington (13 counties).

In the NW Metro area 12% of females are Latinas. Of the 35,000 Latinas over age 40, a third are uninsured. 36% of Latina cancer cases in NW Oregon are diagnosed at late stage compared to 26% non Latinas.


Taking Action

  • We convened 17 Latino serving organizations in our community.
  • We asked them to brainstorm how we could reduce late stage diagnosis among Latinas in a way that honored community strength and existing barriers to care.
  • Together we developed the Poder y Vida project.

We implemented multimedia outreach to Latinas and their families to raise awareness.  These were produced in collaboration with Kaiser Permanente NW, KUNP Univision MundoFox, and other Poder y Vida partners.

We utilized popular education based breast health training designed specifically for Latino volunteers, community members, and community health workers. Want us to come speak to your Latina/o group in Spanish or English? Call 503.552-9160

We involved community health workers to implement a Pathways to Breast Health model in four communities identified as having high numbers of late stage diagnosis cases.


What is a Pathways Model and how does this all work?

It’s an intervention and funding model that provides a realistic and simple path from a target person to a target outcome with payments and equal to the outcomes achieved. In our model we had two Pathways: (1) breast health education and outreach and assistance in removing barriers to receiving and understanding the results of a mammogram, and (2) removing barriers to receiving additional diagnostic testing and, if necessary, treatment for breast cancer.

We funded organizations trusted by the local Latinx community and had their community health workers (CHW) and patient navigators implement the Pathways Model.  Our Pathways partners were Virginia Garcia Memorial Health CenterNorthwest Family Services, and Familas en Accion, with Project Access NOW acting as the conduit for the patients to receive charitable care from, in most cases, Kaiser Permanente NW.

Target communities included Inner East PDX, Gresham/Rockwood, Beaverton/Aloha, and Salem/Keizer.


Our Target Outcomes (5 Years)

  • Increase breast health awareness to 35,000 Latinas and their families.
  • Increase screening in targeted locals by 10%.
  • Decrease late stage breast cancer diagnoses by 14% in NW Oregon.


The Final Results

Between 2014 – 2018, the Latina Initiative helped the following:

  • 2,675 Latinas received a mammogram
  • Of these, 528 women needed additional follow-up
  • 11 women were diagnosed with and are in treatment for breast cancer

An executive summary of our Latina Initiative final evaluation results can be read here.