Adagio Health continues cancer fight

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Every year Adagio Health provides health care services to more than 100,000 women throughout western Pennsylvania. On Aug. 11, Adagio Health hosted their third annual VIPink Party to recognize the contributors who help keep their organization afloat.

“When you do something to help others it makes your life more fulfilling,” said event co-chair Jackie Dixon. “I have a passion for women’s health and women’s causes because I don’t think women get serviced medically as well as men.”

Formerly known as Family Health Council, Adagio Health is a private nonprofit organization that provides health services to women through prevention, education and care.

“I think Adagio Health does a magnificent job in its outreach and in serving underserved women,” Dixon said. “I don’t think America puts enough emphasis on women’s health.”

At the VIPink party, Adagio Health honored three of its sponsors with the 2009 Tempo Award. The awards were given to the Eden Hall Foundation, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC and Elleanor Davis Starks, the mother of Steeler offensive tackle Max Starks, for their commitment to women’s health.

ADAGIO HEALTH VIPS—From left: Tempo Award recipients Leslie Davis, president of Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, Elleanor Davis Starks and Eden Hall Foundation trustee, Debora Foster.

The night served as a precursor to Hot Pink Pittsburgh, a benefit that supports breast and cervical cancer screenings for uninsured women. These are only some of the many services Adagio Health provides to disadvantaged women at a low or no cost.

Dixon, who has worked with Adagio Health for almost eight years, said cancer screenings are a vital component of women’s health. She said this is especially true for African-American women, as they have been found more likely than other women to die from breast cancer.

“Cancer is something people are so fearful of, they’re afraid to go to the doctor. There are certain kinds of cancer relevant to minorities, so being able to get screenings can save your life,” Dixon said. “A lot of the life extension is based on how early they get it diagnosed.”

Adagio Health offers many other services specific to women’s health including family planning, pregnancy care, nutrition counseling and sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment. Most services are free to women under the age of 17 and the cost of services for others is free or income-based.

“One of the things I try to do is make women aware of the services,” Dixon said. “It’s important for people to know that the services are available and that you have somewhere to get screenings.”

Adagio Health also offers several services to help pregnant women who are having difficulties adjusting such as education and support programs and adoption services. They also have a residential program, Healthy Start House, for pregnant women or mothers with children under 10 years old who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless.

(Adagio Health’s Hot Pink Pittsburgh benefit will be held at the Byham Theatre Oct. 13. For more information on Adagio Health services, visit http://www.adagiohealth.org.)

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