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History and Mission
Nueva Vida was founded in 1996 by a group of Latina breast cancer survivors and health professionals who wanted to address lack of culturally sensitive cancer support services for the Latino community in the Washington area. Between 1996 and 1999, Nueva Vida worked under the fiscal sponsorship of La Clinica del Pueblo and the Washington Hospital Center. In 1999 Nueva Vida incorporated as a nonprofit organization with the mission to support, inform and empower Latinas whose lives are affected by cancer, and to advocate for and facilitate the timely access to state of the art cancer care, including screening, diagnosis, treatment and support for all Latinas. The IRS granted definitive 501 (c) 3 status on March 22, 2004.
From the beginning we recognized the critical need to develop a comprehensive support model that is relevant to the complex needs of a mostly recently arrived immigrant community, addressing mental health and access to care needs. We opened the first Spanish-language support group for Latinas with breast cancer in the area in 1996 and developed the areas first peer support program for Latinas with breast cancer in 1999. Our peer support model was selected by the University of Colorado for the training of peer volunteers of Proyecto Sol, the first statewide support program for Latinas with breast cancer in Colorado. Our patient navigator program was among the first in the area and remains a critical complement to our mental health programs, enabling us to identify and address the complex needs of underserved Latina breast cancer survivors. To date, close to400 Latina breast cancer survivors and their families have benefited from Nueva Vidas comprehensive programs and many more have benefited from our screening campaigns.
The pioneering work of Nueva Vida on behalf of Latinas with breast cancer has been recognized with numerous awards that include:
- 1997 Award of Excellence by National Race for the Cure (Carolina Hinestrosa)
- 1998 Survivor of the Year by National Race for the Cure (Ana Salinas)
- Lifetime TV Breast Cancer Hero Awards: (2001- Ana Salinas); (2002 - Elisa Portillo); (2003- Vilma Rosario); (Emilia Zapata -2004)
- 2001 Service to Cancer Survivorship Award, National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (Carolina Hinestrosa)
- A member of the Board was honored for her contributions on behalf of Nueva Vida with the Maryland Hispanic Heritage Award by the State of Maryland, Governors Commission on Hispanic Affairs.
The work of Nueva Vida is recognized beyond the Washington DC metropolitan area and beyond. Nueva Vida is the first and only Latina organization on the Board of Directors of the National Breast Cancer Coalition and was a founding organization in the Komen Foundations National Hispanic/Latina Advisory Board. As an organization and as a team we have had many accomplishments: In 2004 two submissions by Nueva Vida were selected for presentation at the Komen Foundation Mission Conference Pathways to a Promise. Dr. Carnota delivered a platform presentation (Nueva Vida Survivorship Program) and A. Kaufman a poster presentation (Breast Cancer Peer Support Compa eras de Apoyo); In 2005, one submission on our general Support Group Model was selected for presentation at the Mission Conference. Another poster submission on our Comparas de Apoyo was presented at the American Cancer Society Disparities Conference held in Atlanta in April of 2005. In addition, Carolina Hinestrosa, one of our founders and our first Executive Director is the Chair Emeritus of the Integration Panel of the Breast Cancer Research Program of the Department of Defense, representing Nueva Vida and the new Executive Vice-president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition. Among her many speaking engagements, Ms. Hinestrosa delivered a keynote speech at the Biannual Congress of the Spanish Federation of Breast Cancer Associations in Pamplona, Spain in 2003, and has been invited again in 2005; Our Executive Director has been invited to speak about Cultural Barriers in the Latino Community at a conference in Columbia, MD hosted by the Maryland affiliate of the Komen Foundation.
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