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Giving back: Brooklyn-born philanthropist launches breast-cancer outreach program

A Brooklyn-born philanthropist and former diplomat launched a breast-cancer education program with New York University Langone Medical Center on Oct. 5, which will send health workers into low-income Kings County neighborhoods to share information about the disease with local woman and help them access free mammograms.

Beatrice Welters was diagnosed with breast cancer herself in 2007, and says she received fantastic care from the hospital. Now she is trying to ensure other women experience the same level of care, regardless of where they live and how much money they have.

“Their compassion is incredible — it’s what I needed and what I’m sure others need in that situation,” said Welters, who was born in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. “I wanted to make sure others going through the same thing had the same positive experience I did.”

Officially titled the Beatrice W. Welters Breast Health Outreach and Navigation Program, the program will send workers into local churches, beauty parlors, gyms, and schools to speak to women about health care and establish lasting relationships with them to make sure they stick to regular breast-cancer screening schedules.

The program is kicking off at six locations around the city including Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Fort Greene, Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration, and Woodhull Hospital, but Welters has big dreams for the project — she eventually hopes to expand it to Trinidad and Tobago, where she served as the U.S. ambassador from 2010 to 2012.

The program is based on a successful outreach effort targeting men’s health issues in the same neighborhoods, and Welters is confident her version will have the same great results.

“I know it’s going to work,” she said. “I’m just excited about where it might go.”

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