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Moffitt Outreach Worker to Get Presidential Honor

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A community outreach worker from Moffitt Cancer Center will be honored Tuesday morning by the Obama Administration in Washington, D.C.  for improving public health in Tampa Bay's Hispanic community. 

Myriam Escobar is one of eight people who will be recognized as a "Champion of Change" at the White House ceremony. The White House website will have a live stream at 10 a.m. 

Escobar leads the group "Yo me cuido," which means "I take care of myself." The Obama administration said her outreach efforts are helping improve public health by focusing on wellness and prevention.

"Many of these ladies don't speak English, so just when we go and speak their own language,  they feel like they have an open door," Escobar said. 

She said "Yo me cuido" has reached about 2,000 women around Tampa Bay. Escobar said nearly half of the women over 40 the program has educated have gotten mammography screenings.

"I'm really proud of my job because it gives me the opportunity to meet everyday, everyday  women who go to work,  and have families, they have children," Escobar said.  "For me, it's very important  just to give them hope, give them the news that they can have a mammogram."

Sharing information about prevention is especially important to Escobar because five years ago, her sister-in-law died from breast cancer.

"She died just because she didn't pay attention to the symptoms," Escobar said.

Lottie Watts covers health and health policy for Health News Florida, now a part of WUSF Public Media. She also produces Florida Matters, WUSF's weekly public affairs show.