Published January 26, 2023
Yvette Jives, Founder of Health Education Resources (HERS), has been a gynecological health nurse in WNC for more than 33 years. Yet, it was not until she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011 that she realized the scarcity of local resources and support available for those living with ovarian cancer. Her journey as a survivor of ovarian cancer inspired her to establish HERS to spread awareness and education about this common disease to communities across Buncombe, Henderson and McDowell counties, particularly for people of color and those living in rural areas.
Ovarian cancer is known as a silent killer because its symptoms mimic many other conditions and diseases. Many individuals are not properly diagnosed until the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. With the knowledge that Black women historically receive a lower standard of medical care due to environmental factors, ecology of the healthcare system and provider bias, HERS brings solutions-based programing to address and mediate racial inequities in healthcare that can lead to delayed diagnosis and treatment. Leveraging ongoing conversations, education and advocacy, HERS ultimately hopes to reduce disparities in access to and quality of care, as well as create links between communities and healthcare systems through a network of collaboration and coordination with providers.
HERS helps individuals understand and navigate the healthcare system and become advocates for their own care. This helps bridge gaps between providers and the unique communities they serve and foster trust and open dialogue so that more people can understand the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and seek care as soon as possible, potentially increasing life expectancies and decreasing mortality rates.
“My goals are to help shape better outcomes for the stage at which women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer, thus increasing the survival percentage within our communities and the family units.”
Buncombe, Henderson and McDowell Counties
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