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Cervical cancer is subject of upcoming ethnodrama

Durham Showings, June 22-23
Charlotte Showings, June 29-30

Dramatic production will address health disparities for women of color.

A dramatic production that tackles the subject of cervical cancer will bring together social scientists at North Carolina Central University and members of the Duke Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI).

The project revolves around an original ethnodrama, “Write Now We Will Heal,” a play that looks at cancer prevention and screening through the lens of cultural and belief systems and experiences familiar to people of color. The production will be presented in Durham on June 22, 2019, at B.N. Duke Auditorium, on the NCCU campus, and June 23 at the Carolina Theater, 309 W. Morgan St. Charlotte dates are June 29 and June 30 at the Johnson C. Smith University. The performances are free and open to the public.

“The ethnodrama experience is not only a theatrical play tackling the subject of HPV and cervical cancer, but also an opportunity to come out and participate in panel discussions with cancer survivors, oncologists and health workers who are familiar with the disease,” said Jonathan Livingston, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Psychology, who conducts research into mental illness and other issues impacting African Americans.

Before and after each performance, audience members will have a chance to discuss cervical cancer, effective detection and prevention techniques, ask questions and gather additional information.

According to the Center for Disease Control, black women develop cervical cancer at rates of 8.4 percent per 100,000 individuals and Hispanic women at the rate of 9.1% per year. Rates for white women are slightly lower, at 7%.

The drama was written by award-winning poet, playwright and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill visiting professor Dasan Ahanu. Stephanie “Asabi” Howard, Ph.D., NCCU Theatre Department chair and associate professor, will direct the production. The action centers around J’Condria, a young woman writer struggling with the news that her mother may have cervical cancer and her discussions with close friends.

“In developing this production, we wanted to encourage an open discussion surrounding cervical cancer,” said Asabi. “Attendees will view how all of the women in the play reconsider their own health and challenge the men in their lives to understand, support and educate themselves about cervical cancer.”

Participants in the experience will have the opportunity to get more information about HPV and cervical cancer from local agencies that offer screenings, tests and other resources for women from all backgrounds.

NCCU and the Duke CTSI formed a partnership in 2017 to implement programs related to workforce development, pilot projects and community engagement.

For free tickets to the Durham premiere, visit http://bit.ly/writenowtix.

For free tickets to the Charlotte showing, visit http://bit.ly/writenowtix2.

Published: Thursday, June 13, 2019
by Director of Marketing and Communications, Quiana M Shepard
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NCCU complies with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all programs and activities (including sexual harassment and sexual violence) in the University's educational programs and activities. For additional resources or to file a Title IX complaint, visit the NCCU's Title IX webpage.
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