About the Witness Project

The Witness Project® creates a personal connection between the messenger and the audience in a non-threatening atmosphere. The result is a cancer education intervention that works for African-American women.

The First Ladies of Western New York.
Left: Lady Joyce Badger, Lady Kathy Bowman, Lady Denise Hurst, Dee Johnson on right Lady Narseary Harris, Lady Connie Robinson, Lady Michele Jones and Lady Cassandra Jackson.

The Witness Project® was initiated in 1990 by Deborah O. Erwin, Ph.D., a medical anthropologist at the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and Thea Spatz, Ed.D. a certified health education specialist at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The daily operations were addressed by two survivors Mrs. Charlie Stayton and Mattye Willis.

It was developed in cooperation with the American Cancer Society (Mid-South Division), Arkansas Department of Health, Delta Health Education Center, and local churches and community groups.

The Witness Project® was the first program to focus on socioeconomically disadvantaged women through African American churches. Drs. Spatz and Erwin used anthropological fieldwork, individual interviews, and focus groups to assess the population’s needs and to develop and quantify the intervention study. The intervention follows the 4MAT System which presents educational material sequentially to address four distinct learning styles and brain hemispheric preferences. Story-telling and experiential learning techniques are used in the intervention, rather than a traditional didactic presentation.

The Witness Project® creates a personal connection between the messenger and the audience in a non-threatening atmosphere. The result is a cancer education intervention that works for African-American women.