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GSEP Alumna Ending Cervical Cancer In Nicaragua

January 20, 2022  | 2 min read

Susan Cotton HeadshotJanuary is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month - a time to raise awareness about cervical cancer, HPV disease, and the importance of getting screened. This month, the Graduate School of Education and Psychology is proud to recognize and honor our MA in Social Entrepreneurship and Change (SEC) alumna Susan Cotton (’15), co-founder and chair of the Lily Project, who helps combat cervical cancer by providing women's health services in rural communities in Nicaragua.

The Lily Project is a mobile women’s health clinic providing one-on-one care to the most vulnerable women in Nicaragua. It started as a result of Cotton visiting Nicaragua during her involvement with the SEC Global Change Experience program and meeting a young woman, Anielka Medina, who lost her mother to cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer, a sexually transmitted disease, is Nicaragua’s #1 cancer killer and the leading cause of death of young women. 90% of cervical cancer deaths occur in developing countries due to women lacking access to basic sexual health care and education. Nicaragua has one of the highest rates of cervical cancer mortality in the world due to its inadequate health care system where only 10% of women have access to preventive care and prevailing Machismo culture which encourages sexual behaviors that spread HPV, the virus that causes cervical cancer.

Through the SEC program, Cotton gained the skills and resources required to lead and inspire change and started The Lily Project to help eradicate Cervical cancer in rural communities, particularly among vulnerable people.

We hope you will be inspired by this reflective video message from her as we raise awareness and support each other through compassion, empathy, and a number of resources available.

The Lily Project has now screened over 25,000 women, delivering women’s health services virtually, including digital health education and telehealth services to prevent disease and promote positive emotional and mental well-being.

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Learn more about The Lily Project.

Learn more about our MA in Social Entrepreneurship and Change.