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Grantee Spotlight: YWCA Boston's Healthy Test Reminders: Using Text Messages to Increase Breast Screening

"Hello from YWCA Boston. Please remember to schedule your annual mammogram!"—More than 300 Boston women receive this simple lifesaving reminder from YWCA Boston each year through our Healthy Text Reminder program. The program, which offers women annual mammogram reminders and monthly breast self-exam reminders via text message, is an adaption from the National Cancer Institute's Maximizing Mammography Participation. It was developed in response to numerous studies by the Community Preventative Services Task Force of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services which show that simple reminders, such as postcards, emails, phone calls, or text messages, can increase mammography screening rates by as much as 15%.
YWCA Boston's Women's Health and Wellness primarily serves low-income women of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds. Our Healthy Text Reminders, available in both Spanish and English, are a reliable means of contact with our client base. Text messaging provides immediate and direct contact with women and is an increasingly preferred method of communication. Every time a woman encounters any of our Health and Wellness services she is able to sign-up on the spot simply by giving us her cell phone number. We have even found that our reminders are used within families cross-generationally to maintain breast health, as younger women who sign up for the text service share their reminders with older mothers, aunts, and grandmothers who are not familiar with text messaging or do not own cellphones.
The Healthy Text Reminder program is just one way that YWCA Boston's Women's Health and Wellness program connects women with breast health care. YWCA Boston also hosts phone-a-thons to help women schedule mammograms and provides one-on-one and group breast health education to women throughout Boston.

A Grantee's Perspective

Chenango Health Network has received grant funding from the NYS Avon Breast Health Outreach Program for many years. AVON BHOP support has enabled our agency to conduct our Every Woman Counts in Chenango County Campaign, which motivates, encourages and supports hundreds of women who live in this rural upstate county to be screened for breast cancer and receive necessary treatment and support. Read More