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Money benefits working women who

Communities reap health care benefits from Komen grants

JACKSON — New partnerships, new equipment and new outreach efforts mark the plans of the 10 health care organizations awarded $10,000 each Oct. 11th by the Central Mississippi Steel Magnolias affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Komen affiliate board member Carol Mann announced the organizations receiving funds are: Alcorn State University in Natchez; Amite County Medical Services in Liberty; Baptist Health Systems in Jackson; Claiborne County Hospital in Port Gibson; King’s Daughters Medical Center in Brookhaven; St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson; Field Memorial Hospital in Centreville; G.A. Carmicheal Health Services in Canton; South Sunflower County Hospital in Indianola; and University Medical Center Department of Family Medicine in Jackson.

Mississippi counties served by the Central Mississippi affiliate include Adams, Amite, Attala, Bolivar, Claiborne, Copiah, Franklin, Hinds, Holmes, Humphreys, Issaquena, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lawrence, Leake, Leflore, Lincoln, Madison, Pike, Rankin, Scott, Simpson, Sharkey, Smith, Sunflower, Walthall, Warren, Washington, Wilkinson and Yazoo.

Cathy Bridge, director of quality management and infection control at King’s Daughters Medical Center in Brookhaven, described the target group for their program funded by the Komen grant as women who “fall through the cracks” — working women who do not qualify for Medicaid, who do not make enough to buy insurance through their employer, and who are too young for Medicare.

Last year, the organization was able to provide screening mammograms to 70 women from Lincoln County, with a small number being referred to follow-up treatment, according to Bridge.

This year, the King’s Daughters Medical Center plans to expand their service area for the Komen grant funds to women meeting their criteria to surrounding Franklin and Lawrence counties, said Bridge.

“Those are the counties we turned down the most women in; that was difficult,” she said.

The program’s target this year is to provide screening mammograms to 91 women, spreading the word through OB/GYN and internal medicine primary physicians, a free clinic the hospital operates in the area, and other media outlets, according to Bridge.

Government agencies, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations and Native American tribes were also eligible for grant money for their programs. The Komen grants specified amounts that could be used for indirect costs, staffing and equipment. Indirect costs could not exceed 10% of direct costs, equipment costs could not exceed 30% of direct costs, and salary costs, if requested, should be related only to the project itself and not the general work of the organization. Conditions of the grant require that grantees submit a progress report at the end of the first six months of the grant period and a final report no later than 90 days after the grant period ends.

More than 7,521 women were reached by efforts of Komen-funded programs as of April, according to mid-year reports submitted by recipients, said grants committee chair Judy Moulder.

Bobbie Sue Bowen, director of radiology at South Sunflower County Hospital in Indianola, said a portion of the grant would go to new mammography equipment and educational materials, such as pamphlets, brochures and models to aid women in learning proper technique for breast self-exams. Five thousand dollars will be used to pay for screening mammograms for women without insurance or other coverage that provides for such testing. Females make up 42% of the total population of Sunflower County, according to Bowen.

“We want to emphasize and get the word out about breast self-exams, clinical follow-up and screening mammograms,” said Bowen. “It’s really going to benefit this county because the education is just not there.”

Field Memorial Community Hospital in Centreville plans to fund the purchase of a transducer for ultrasound breast biopsies and fund approximately 80 screening mammograms for women unable to pay for the service themselves.

“This equipment will be valuable to do a biopsy of any lesion found in the screening process,” said Brock Slabach, administrator of Field Memorial.

The hospital serves Wilkinson and Amite counties, both of which have high indigent populations, said Slabach; their programs are targeted to provide screening services and more importantly, provide local follow-up care so patients do not have to travel long distances for treatment.

“Our design was to assist in eliminating that financial barrier to preventive care,” said Slabach.

Dr. Susan Hart Hester, associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine at University Medical Center, said their funds would provide the ability to partner with Mallory Community Health Center in Lexington for breast cancer screening devices called GAIL model risk assessment tools. These devices calculate breast cancer risk by adding up the probability of a woman with multiple risk factors for breast cancer of getting the disease once all the risk factors are taken into account.

Hester noted these devices were often used only for women ages 50 and up; the program funded with the Komen grant will screen women 35 and older who use the Mallory Community Health Center services, and then follow up with those shown to have a high risk for the disease.

In 1996, the age-adjusted incidence of breast cancer in Holmes County was 112 cases per 100,000 people, with adjoining areas showing even higher ratios, said Hester. “What we’re hoping to do is branch this out into the surrounding areas.”

UMC already has a presence in Holmes County by virtue of owning the local hospital, University Hospital — Lexington; Hester notes a great many residents from the Department of Family Medicine spend time working out of that facility.

The G.A. Carmicheal Family Health Centers in Yazoo, Leake and Madison counties have plans to use their Komen funds mostly for educational purposes, said Eddie Anthony, executive director. A special emphasis will be for men to understand their risks for breast cancer, Anthony said. One male patient recently came to the clinic for treatment, only to find his condition was too far advanced.

“In four months after he came in, he was dead,” said Anthony.

Obstacles for patients in this facility’s service areas include access to care in rural areas and low thresholds for awareness of the risks, according to Anthony.

“We want to go out to the cotton fields in these rural areas and get those women treated,” Anthony maintained.

The $100,000 was raised during the Race for the Cure 5-K walk and the Rally for the Cure golf tournament in May 2001. Seventy-five percent of all funds raised remain in the 30-county service area for breast cancer awareness, education, and screening programs.

Local input is critical in order for the money to go where needed, said Carol Mann, advisory board member.

“We want to hear from the community. I know we have a lot of needs in a 30-county area. It’s not up to us to tell them what they need — we want them to tell us their needs,” she said.

Contact MBJ contributing writer at Julie Whitehead at mbj@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1018.

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