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      What does it take to become a Wise Woman?

      Every year, Delta and Menominee counties have about 400 women who participate in a free, unique screening program: The Wise Woman Program.

      You first have to be a member of the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program. You also have to meet certain guidelines. In order to participate in the Wise Woman Program, you have to be a female between 40 and 64, underinsured or uninsured, and have low to moderate income.

      Cindy Betters has been a participant for over five years.

      â??You need to take the time for yourself, because you're given one life,â?? explained Betters, â??and you're supposed to treat it the best that you can."

      She's getting her annual health screening. February is American Heart Month, and the many women who pass through the Public Health Departmentâ??s doors get educated on how they can reduce their risk of heart disease. So why is heart health so important to Ms. Betters?

      â??My mother actually suffered a heart attack, and I want to make sure I stay healthy," Betters said.

      This wise woman says she's determined to stay healthy not just for herself.

      â??Just like that, it happened. It was devastating. And it was a wake-up call for our whole family," Betters explained.

      About 75 percent of program participants set a healthy lifestyle goal for the year. Much of their motivation to stay on track comes from health officials.

      They regularly call in to keep their clients focused and returning to the clinic for healthy eating tips and other educational programs.