The Carin’ and Sharin’ Breast Cancer Education and Support Group was organized in 1989, by Gwendolyn Brown, an oncology social worker, to address some of the issues related to the rising mortality rate among socio-economically disadvantaged, inner city, African-American women in the Memphis area. This was the first group for this population in the state of Tennessee. Initially, there was no direct funding for the group, which resulted in relying heavily upon in-kind donations from various local agencies and businesses.
The group grew slowly as the target population was largely unfamiliar with the concept of formal “group support”. To alleviate apprehension, the initial gatherings focused on education and group support happened during informal meals after each session.
Through a comfortable and safe environment, fostered by the group founder, coupled with her compassionate support and intense individual social work intervention, the group began to mature and has grown significantly over the years, leading to significant expansion of programs and services.
The parent organization, Urban Health Education and Support Services (UHESS) was formed in 2002 as a non-profit organization to provide oversight and resources for the Carin’ and Sharin’ Breast Cancer Education and Support Group.
UHESS is supported by funders including: the Memphis-MidSouth Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Breast Cancer Eradication Initiative, Inc., Sista Strut - Memphis - iHeart Radio, MidSouth Assistive Technology, Spectra Group.
UHESS has research alliances with Notre Dame University, University of Tennessee, Middle Tennessee State University, and the American Cancer Society.