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Public Health Epidemiology Conversations Podcast


Episode #77 Interview with Bridgette Hempstead, Founder of Cierra Sisters

Cierra Sisters is a community-based organization created by and for African Americans with cancer in the greater Seattle WA area

Cierra Sisters fills a critical public health need by breaking the cycle of fear, increasing knowledge concerning breast cancer in the African-American and underserved communities. The organization empowers the African American community through local, national, and global events and partnerships. Cierra Sisters has partnered with major cancer research institutes, and academic research partners to advance its mission.

During the Society for the Analysis of African American Public Health Issues (SAAPHI) conference, I sat next to the founder of Cierra Sisters, Bridgette Hempstead, and we became fast friends. She presented research at the conference and promoted the organization. Bridgette is a 23 year three times breast cancer survivor! The more I learned about her and the organization, the more I was intrigued, inspired, and moved to action. I knew I wanted to support her organization in some way, and also knew that I wanted to bring her on the podcast and introduce her to all of you.

The timing of this episode is important because it aligns with a milestone event that I will let Bridgette explain.

"Accidental activist" with a passion and drive for public health

Just a side note worth highlighting here is this. Bridgette is not formally trained in public health. She does not have a degree in public health. In fact, she recently spoke to a group in San Francisco that introduced her as “the accidental activist” who has been making a tremendous positive public health impact for over 23 years. I want everyone who’s listening to hear her passion, and drive in the stories she shares and the examples she gives. Her message is inspiring. Imagine what you can do once you connect with the area of public health that you are most passionate about, and the populations that you care most about serving.

My hope is that you will be inspired by this episode.

Molina, Y., Scherman, A., Constant, T. H., Hempstead, B.H., Thompson-Dodd, J., Richardson, S., ... & Ceballos, R. M. (2016). Medical advocacy among African-American women diagnosed with breast cancer: from recipient to resource. Supportive Care in Cancer, 24(7), 3077-3084.

Molina, Y., Hohl, S. D., Nguyen, M., Hempstead, B. H., Weatherby, S. R., Dunbar, C., & Ceballos, R. M. (2016). Ethnic differences in social support after initial receipt of an abnormal mammogram. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 22(4), 588-593.

Molina, Y., Hempstead, B. H., Thompson-Dodd, J., Weatherby, S. R., Dunbar, C., Hohl, S. D., ... & Ceballos, R. M. (2015). Medical advocacy and supportive environments for African-Americans following abnormal mammograms. Journal of Cancer Education, 30(3), 447-452.

Here is the link to the website for Cierra Sisters

The phone number for Cierra Sisters is 206-505-9194.

You can make a donation and receive your tea and join the virtual tea party to support the cause and efforts of this important organization.

When you reach out to Bridgette and Cierra Sisters, be sure to mention that you heard about her from this podcast episode. It would be a great way of showing our support as a whole, from the podcast community.

Remember, if you’re listening to this episode after the anniversary date has passed, then I still encourage you to make a donation (which is tax deductible) and support the mission of the organization.

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