The goal of
Survivors Involving Supporters to Take Action in Advancing Health (SISTAAH) Talk!
is to provide a forum for African American women to communicate about and make sense of their breast cancer experience in order to
achieve improved physical and mental health outcomes.
Unlike traditional support groups, survivors partner with
self-selected supporters or co-survivors
for social support to help cope with their diagnosis.
SISTAAH Talk, Inc., is a non-profit 501c(3) organization,
which provides a forum for African American women to communicate about & make sense of their breast cancer experience.
We are dedicated to promoting the wellbeing--physical, mental, and spiritual--of breast cancer survivors and their supporters.
Dr. Selina A. Smith was a champion in the field of breast cancer research. She served as professor at many prestigious universities, principal investigator on various research projects, lead writer on an innumerable amount of research publications and co-authored several books. In 1995, as a result of one of her research projects at the University of Miami, Dr. Smith founded Sistaah Talk! Breast Cancer Support Group and lead the group until her demise to cancer in August 2018.
After her breast cancer diagnosis , Dr. Selina A. Smith was prompted by the leadership of University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1995 to initiate a support group aimed at mitigating traumatic events (i.e., breast cancer-related concerns, self-reported physical well-being, isolation, loneliness, distress, depression, anxiety, etc.) for African-American breast cancer survivors.
Since 1998, Mary S. Whitehead has facilitated the support group, expanding it to include women from across Miami-Dade and Broward counties, reaching women through education, outreach and research.
Eight (8) SISTAAH Talk members were chosen to attend the African American Women Breast Cancer (ACS) Summit hosted by the American Cancer Association in October 1999 and were trained and certified as Triple Touch Breast Self-Exam (BSE) instructors. In 2000, SISTAAH Talk received funding from Susan G. Komen for the Cure to launch the Touch 2000 Campaign, exceeding the goal of educating 2000 women on BSE and good breast health practices.
Each year, SISTAAH Talk collaborates with other non-profit organizations to 'Give Thanks,' an annual Thanksgiving basket giveaway for cancer survivors and their families. Well-known in the community for its annual Pretty Hat Tea, SISTAAH Talk has been successful in reaching women in South Florida’s culturally diverse communities through innovative approaches. Since its inception, the support group has reached more than 4,000 breast cancer survivor/supporter dyads.
The inaugural cohort of SISTAAH Talk members (1995) participated in a Department of Defense-funded study, Multigenerational Breast Cancer Risk in African American Women. In 2013, SISTAAH Talk breast cancer survivors participated in focus group discussion and completed assessments for the National Institute of Minority Health & Health Disparities-funded pilot study, Assessing Lifestyle Modification Needs & Experiences of African American Women. Ongoing research focuses on preventing breast cancer recurrence through healthy lifestyle behaviors.
President & Facilitator
Ms. Whitehead was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1991. Her areas of expertise include: advocacy, women's health, religious studies, and public health. She holds a master of public health degree and is a certified health education specialist.
Vice President & Historian
Mrs. Johnson has been a supporter of SISTAAH Talk! since its inception. Her areas of expertise include event planning, communications, photography, and videography.
Chief of Staff
Survivor Outreach Assistant
The Social Media Team assists in the development, implementation, and evaluation of SISTAAH Talk’s social media strategy, graphic marketing, media impressions, and analytics
to increase our web-based presence.
Rennne Whitehead, Rennard Whitehead, Randall Heidelburg, Rebecca Smith, DeSaad Andrews, and Jamaler Cooper.