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Who We Are

Comadre a Comadre ribbon

Our History

The Comadre a Comadre program was co-founded with six Hispanic/Latina breast cancer survivors, and their loved ones, who shared their experiences about both the lack of culturally sensitive psychosocial support available to them and their own lack of knowledge of services when they were diagnosed. The Program received funding from the National Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation for $250,000 which allowed for a more formal evaluation, including focus groups and full implementation of the intervention in 2003.

Who We Are

The Comadre Program is a holistic program that embodies strong Hispanic/Latino cultural coping practices, such as prayer and family support to address the many practical challenges faced by Hispanic/Latinas with breast cancer. The word “Comadre” is a term used to describe the non-biological close female kinship that exist in the Hispanic/Latino extended family unit. Our Peer Patient Navigators are breast cancer survivors who are trained in navigation and in providing emotional support from someone who "has been there." Survivors bring a lifelong passion and ability to motivate and inspire others to adapt and survive from a traumatic illness. This positive role modeling is critical, and not only are the Comadres breast cancer survivors but also representative of the Hispanic/Latino culture of the women being reached. The Program staff and volunteers are bilingual and Hispanic/Latino and all our services provided at no cost and in both Spanish and English.

Our Model

A multilevel community-engaged program addressing breast cancer disparities in New Mexico

Rationale | Background

  • Despite lower incidence of breast cancer (BC), Hispanic/Latina women are diagnosed at more advanced stages, experience delays in BC treatment, and have worse survival rates.
  • Individual and systems-level factors lead to BC disparities among Hispanic/Latina women.
  • Peer-patient navigation and community-based interventions can be effective and a culturally-relevant approach to addressing systemic barriers to BC screening and care.

Multilevel Approach

Ecological-based, community-engaged approach to breast cancer educational outreach & patient navigation:

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Patient knowledge/

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Peer-provided, culturally & Patient-centered psychological support

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Local community partnerships

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Healthcare systems & UNM

Meet Our Team

Elba L. Saavedra Ferrer icon

Elba L. Saavedra Ferrer

Director of Comadre a Comadre Program

Dr. Elba L. Saavedra Ferrer is on Faculty in the Department of Health, Exercise and Sports Science, and an alumni of the University of New Mexico (1995, 2004) with conferred, a Masters and PhD degrees in Community Health Education.

Dr. Saavedra Ferrer has over 18 years of experience in research efforts focusing on social determinants of health related to cancer care among New Mexico’s ethnically/racially diverse and under-served women. Dr. Saavedra Ferrer research interests include cancer survivorship, community engaged work, community-based interventions in cancer care and patient navigation across the cancer care continuum.

Belinda Vicuna Tellez

Belinda Vicuna Tellez

Assistant Professor for Research

Belinda has earned her Masters in Public Health and Doctorate in Health Psychology from University of New Mexico. She is currently a Research Assistant Professor in the Center for Collaborative Research and Community Engagement. Her research has focused on cancer disparities among Latino populations, considering the role of social and cultural sources of resilience in health (such as spirituality and health). She feels strongly about community-engaged and culturally-centered approaches to cancer prevention research.

Yesenia Hernandez

Yesenia Hernandez

Community Education Coordinator

Yesenia earned her bachelor's degree in Community Health Education through the College of Education at the University of New Mexico. Yesenia started as a student intern at the Comadre a Comadre Program and is now the Community Education Coordinator.

The Comadre Peer Patient Navigation Team

The Comadre Peer Patient Navigation Team

Patricia Corona
Catherine Landavazo
Loida Varela
Rosa Lopez Morales

The Comadre Peer Educators

The Comadre Peer Educators (volunteers)

Florencia Aldaz
Luz Elena Bustillos
Bertha Campos
Blanca Cardenas
Rosario Gonzales Candia
Carmengloria Schlater

The Comadre Advisory Council

The Community Advisory Council

Santa Andazola
Sandra Arellano
Maria Molina Goretty
Wendy Hine
Alma Olivas
Ana Quiroz
Christina Tapia
Maria Gabriela Vera

Dr. Elba Saavedra Ferrer
Program Director

Contact us
(505) 277-2398

Fax: (505) 277-2352

Dirección de Envio
Physical Address

UNM Main Campus Manzanita Hall
502 Cornell Dr. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Hours: M—F 9AM—5PM

Dirección Física
Mailing Address

MSC06 3885
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

Thank you to our Sponsors

Department of Health Breast and Cervical Cancer (BCC) Program

Department of Health Comprehensive Cancer Program

Prevent Cancer Foundation