South Florida Hospital News
Friday November 24, 2017
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October 2011 - Volume 8 - Issue 4

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Passion, Providers, and Hope at Work In South Florida

It’s no secret that Susan G. Komen for the Cure® is passionate about ending breast cancer. They fund more breast cancer research than any organization other than the federal government, and they are a global force for breast cancer advocacy, education, and treatment. Here at home, the South Florida Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® is putting that passion to work, funding local efforts to increase the availability of breast health services and cancer care. In fact, 75% of the money raised by the Komen South Florida Affiliate stays right here in South Florida to fund breast health services. The other 25% supports research at the national level.
 
Since 2000, the Affiliate has funded programs and awarded grants totaling more than $16 million for breast health education, breast cancer screening and treatment, patient navigation assistance, community education, and the national Susan G. Komen for the Cure Grants Program to fund research. In 2011 alone, the Affiliate awarded nearly one and a half million dollars in grants to local healthcare organizations providing breast health services, many with a special emphasis on programs for minorities. Eleven providers in Palm Beach, Martin, and St. Lucie Counties won grant funding to deliver screening and treatment programs, and more than a dozen organizations received support for educational outreach.
 
“Breast cancer doesn’t take into account your socioeconomic status or whether or not you are insured,” stresses Executive Director Penny Westberry. “That’s why the South Florida Affiliate is out in the community every day making sure that all of our neighbors have access to quality breast health services.”
 
Recognizing that South Florida is one of the nation’s most diverse regions, and that disparity in access to care is greatest among minorities, the Affiliate focuses much of its efforts on improving access to screening and treatment for Hispanic and African American populations here in South Florida. While breast cancer education and screening have the power to save lives by helping women catch cancer when it’s most treatable, uninsured or underinsured women often lack access to the screening they need. As a result, many women skip their annual mammograms because they can’t afford the expense.
 
“Every two years we conduct a community assessment to ensure that our grant awards are helping those who need it most,” said Interim Director of Mission Initiatives Michele Donahue. “We want to make sure breast health services are available to everyone regardless of age, race, gender, or economic situation.”
 
In order to address the specific breast cancer needs of Palm Beach, Martin, and St. Lucie Counties, the Komen South Florida Affiliate works with local health care professionals and community leaders to conduct its comprehensive needs assessment. The resulting Community Profile, a standard guiding document prepared by all Komen Affiliates, is then used to establish a local grant application and review process consistent with the organization’s mission and local community needs.
 
During fiscal year 2010-2011, the Affiliate’s grantees provided 6,047 breast cancer screening services. From these screenings, 50 breast cancers were diagnosed. Without the Affiliate’s funding, these cancers may have gone undiagnosed, and women may have died.
 
This fiscal year, one local grant recipient, Bethesda Women’s Health Center, received funds for both breast health screenings and support services for breast cancer patients. Sixty thousand dollars were received specifically to support its breast health navigator team. The team helps patients navigate the treatment process through education, interventions, and social services.
 
In addition, Bethesda Women’s Health Center received $300,000 to support its mammography and diagnostic imaging program, as well as a treatment program. As a result, Bethesda Memorial Hospital is able to provide free mammograms as well as diagnostic and treatment procedures to underserved women in the community.
The Komen South Florida Affiliate is one of 123 Komen Affiliates worldwide that works to relieve suffering from breast cancer and end the disease forever. They are currently accepting applications for the 2012-2013 grants cycle. Submission information, including eligibility requirements and identified areas of need, is available at www.komensouthflorida.org. Applications must be received by November 30, 2011. They also accept small grant applications throughout the year to support breast health education projects, conferences and travel scholarships.
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