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posted on May 11, 2009 11:18
The Women’s Health Check program in the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is partnering in May with the Idaho Food Bank to educate low-income women about free breast and cervical cancer screening services.
“Our program offers free cancer screening to low-income women who do not have insurance, the very same people the food bank pantries serve on a daily basis,” said Minnie Inzer Muniz, WHC Program Manager. “We have tried traditional advertising, but we need to seek out partnerships to promote our program to those who need it most.”
Cutbacks and layoffs have caused many Idaho citizens to lose health insurance the past several months. To help eligible women access free mammograms and Pap tests, the Women’s Health Check program wanted to find a low-cost and effective way to promote their life saving services. The Idaho Food Bank is a logical fit. Information about the program will be available in English and Spanish at over 200 food pantries around the state throughout the month of May. 
Women’s Health Check is a federally funded program administered by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare that works to reduce undetected breast and cervical cancer in Idaho. The program provides screening and treatment services free of charge to women aged 40 and over who are considered low income and have no health insurance.
“Last year we worked with the IFB pantry partners on a pilot basis. It was successful and we are continuing the partnership through 2009, “added Inzer Muniz. “This year at select pantry sites, we will have program champions who will volunteer a few hours in the pantries to answer questions and in some cases help the women register for Women’s Health Check.”
Volunteer WHC champions, in some cases cancer survivors themselves, will help pantry participants with questions and concerns about the exams, how the program works, and where the closest exam site is.
“We are excited about the opportunity to not only provide food to these families but also the information about other services that are available to them and their families,” said Karen Vauk, CEO of The Idaho Food Bank. “Using our pantry network as a channel to deliver health information to low-income families makes good sense. It’s just one more thing we can do as an organization to improve the health and well-being of Idaho’s most vulnerable citizens.”
For more information about the Women’s Health Check program contact your local district health office, or call the Idaho CareLine at 2-1-1. To find out about your local food pantry contact The Idaho Foodbank at (208) 336-9643, or visit their website at