Life-saving cancer screenings and early detection programs at the Cooper Cancer Institute are paving the way to providing the best possible cancer care to the region’s under-served population. Evelyn Robles-Rodriguez, R.N., M.S.N., A.P.N.C., has led this journey for over 10 years as the Director of Oncology Outreach Programs at Cooper. Last month, Evelyn earned the The NJBIZ Healthcare Hero Award in the category for Education Hero. The awards are designed to honor and highlight New Jersey’s most outstanding individuals and companies in the healthcare industry. NJBIZ is a New Jersey business magazine reaching more than 20,000 business professionals in the state.
Evelyn demonstrates a history of helping Latina/Hispanic women in the area of health care or quality of life initiatives for breast cancer survivors. Thirty percent of cancer patients treated at the Cooper Cancer Institute are Hispanic.
A nurse to thousands of cancer patients, she uses her compassion for people to assure every patient is receiving the best possible care. In 1996 she took her passion for helping the underserved Camden population and collaborated with the New Jersey Department of Health and Human Services to create the Cancer Education and Early Detection Program at Cooper (CEED). Cooper’s CEED program works with underinsured and uninsured women and men to provide them with free screenings and education. The community outreach team develops culturally and linguistically appropriate tools to reach the diverse population. In the past, they have developed theatrical productions on clinical trials and breast cancer, videos on cancer screening and early detection. The first year the program screened 226 patients and currently more than 1,300 are screened for breast and prostate cancer annually.
In 2006, CEED was recognized nationally by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for its work with community and state agencies to provide innovative and successful cancer outreach programs. Evelyn has worked tirelessly writing grants for this outreach program, securing over $3 million.
Her work within the cancer community also includes a special support group, “Sister Will You Help Me.” As co-facilitator of this faith-based group of cancer survivors, she brings support and strength to women of color. This group of women inspired Evelyn to identify grant funding to create a book featuring 39 minority women diagnosed with breast cancer, their survival stories and photos of breast surgical results. Think Calendar Girls. These women with beautiful hats shadowing their identity are photographed to help and educate other women facing cancer. The book, Unveiled, is distributed free of charge to physicians and agencies throughout New Jersey that are involved in breast cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment and has been honored nationally by the Center for Disease Control.
“She is a dynamic force in the under-served South Jersey community, helping in many ways to bring early cancer detection to thousands of patients,” says Generosa Grana, M.D., Director of the Cooper Cancer Institute.
Her passion to help others filters into her personal life as well, teaching CCD to children at her church, and caring for her three children and husband of 19 years.
For more information about the Cooper Cancer Institute or to make an appointment with a Cooper University Hospital physician at an office near you, please call 1-800-8-COOPER (800-826-6737) to speak with a member of our physician referral and information service.