Nurse Practitioner Bernadette Thomas as part of her scholarly project for the doctor of nursing practice degree from Wilmington University established “The Blue Ladies” in 2014. The idea for the project came from previously working in urology as a nurse practitioner. In urology, Bernadette noticed that very few African American men were coming in for prostate cancer screening. Over time, this became a concern, and so she began to research explanations for their absence. Bernadette read countless research articles on prostate cancer and African American men, only to learn that health information on the importance of prostate health and prostate cancer screening was not reaching most of these men. This was alarming, especially since prostate cancer is deadlier in this population compared to other ethnic groups. From this reason, Bernadette decided to develop an education platform out of shear concern for the knowledge gap between African American men and prostate cancer awareness. In search of ways to education a large number of African American men, Bernadette learnt that there were many methods available to educate on prostate cancer awareness, however the most underutilized approach was to educate women. Characteristically women are not routinely involved with prostate cancer awareness. But this group seemed the most ideal in order to reach this vulnerable population and improve the disparity. Especially since most women have husbands, brothers, fathers, uncles, male children, male cousins, and male friends.
“The Blue Ladies” is an organization solely designed to educate all women on prostate health, prostate cancer, and prostate cancer screening through a free web-based course located on The Blue Ladies’ website. Bernadette’s hope is that every woman who completes the course feels confident and comfortable to have caring conversations with the men she cares about most.