Grant allows hospitals to expand access to breast cancer screenings and care

For the past 18 years, thousands of women in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties have received free mammograms through the breast screening programs at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital and Washington Adventist Hospital. Now, a nearly $1 million grant from Susan G. Komen for the Cure is helping the Navigate to Health: Rapid Referral Program expand comprehensive breast care services to medically underserved, low-income, minority women.

The unique program, which has already been reaching women through partnerships with local clinics such as the Mercy Clinic in Gaithersburg and the Spanish Catholic Center in Silver Spring, will now expand to the Mary’s Center in Langley Park, Mobile Medical Care Clinic in Silver Spring and Germantown, the Muslim Community Clinic in Silver Spring, and Greater Baden Medical Services in Prince George’s County.

Navigate to Health: Rapid Referral is designed to decrease the time of referral, screening, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Specifically, the grant will increase the number of mammograms and provide education services to local, underserved women. The program features an enhanced follow-up process for women who have had positive results from screenings.

“We don’t just want to screen women; we want to teach them about their breast health and make sure that those with positive results receive treatment and care,” explains Judy Lichty, regional director of health and wellness for Adventist HealthCare. “We know that with breast cancer, early detection and rapid treatment can make a significant difference for the patient.”

Work to develop the Navigate to Health: Rapid Referral Program started nearly two years ago in partnership with community health clinics and the Montgomery County Primary Care Coalition, which are critical sources of health services for underserved populations in the region. The other local clinics added Navigate to Health: Rapid Referral this past spring or will add it in the fall. By 2014, the Navigate to Health program is expected to serve nearly 2,000 local women.

The nearly $1 million grant given to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital and Washington Adventist Hospital is one of only two large grants given by Komen to help address barriers to care.

“With this investment and this partnership, we are confident we can make a big impact on the quality of care for the women in this community,” says Heather Patrick, manager of community grantmaking for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Did You Know

Each day, Adventist HealthCare fulfills its mission of improving the health of people and communities through a wide array of services and activities.

  • In 2009, Shady Grove Adventist Hospital and Washington Adventist Hospital contributed approximately $63 million in community benefit through charity care and other programs— more than any other health system in Montgomery County.
  • Since 1993, the Washington Adventist Breast Cancer Screening Program has served 11,879 patients, conducting 9,125 screening mammograms and 2,525 diagnostic mammograms, resulting in 105 cases of diagnosed breast cancer.