Women’s Health Empowerment Program (WHEP)


Our Women’s Division at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara works year-round to provide support to those in need locally, whether they be housebound seniors, young families or anyone in between. But the Women’s Division also looks beyond the Central Coast, and in 2015, reached out literally halfway around the world to provide life-saving mammogram checkups for women without means or literally, health care.  


The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s (JDC) Women's Health Empowerment Program (WHEP), was launched in 1995 and has operated in partnership with the Susan G. Komen organization since 2004. The WHEP is a global initiative that promotes breast cancer awareness and life-saving early detection, provides support services for patients and survivors, and puts women’s health issues at the forefront of national public health agendas.


WHEP supports women who are living with this disease – focusing on the underserved – in societies with limited health care resources and a lingering stigmatization that makes it difficult to discuss treatment options. The program is now active in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary and Russia, and also works in Israel with Israeli and Palestinian cancer survivors through JDC’s COPE Forum.


This special campaign had a goal of raising $10,000 to provide more than 300 mammograms and materials for these impoverished women, 95% of whom have never received a mammogram in their lives. Women's Division Chairwoman Diane Zipperstein said this program truly saves lives, “Early detection is so important in fighting breast cancer. Every woman, no matter where she lives in the world or her circumstances, deserves the same opportunity to protect her health that we have.”


WHEP goes beyond mammograms. It helps to educate women that breast cancer is not a death sentence and that if diagnosed early, they have a 97% chance to recover. WHEP promotes a healthy lifestyle, empowering women to fight for their basic health rights, and empowering survivors to share their stories and help other women. To learn more or to donate, please contact Jilli Spear, (805) 957-1115 x 107 or jspear@sbjf.org.