Karina Moyano, Health Systems Manager-American Cancer Society,  Tracy Ream (outgoing CEO), Melissa Barajas, RN (Director of Population Health), Jesse Nodora, DrPH (ACS Desert Coastal Area Board, ACS Researcher, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center)

American Cancer Society partners with Health Centers

The American Cancer Society has partnered with over 100 of California’s Community Health Centers to improve their Breast, Cervical, and Colorectal Cancer Screening and HPV Vaccination rates to ultimately prevent cancer or catch it early, in its most treatable stage.  As practice facilitators and QI coaches, local  American Cancer Society staff throughout CA  support CHCs serving the uninsured and underserved through the development, implementation, support, and ongoing technical assistance related to:

  • quality improvement projects;
  • screening and prevention navigation programs;
  • patient and provider reminder systems;
  • provider and staff education programs; and,
  • cultural and linguistically appropriate patient education.

Below are some examples of how the American Cancer Society has worked with CHCs to implement evidence-based interventions and strategies to reduce disparities in cancer prevention and early detection and the unequal burden of cancer for medically vulnerable communities and populations.

1. Through our partnership with Neighborhood Healthcare, we implemented a quality improvement project in pediatric clinics to improve HPV vaccination rates in boys and girls 11 to 12 years old. This project started with an in-depth assessment of capacity using the ACS HPV Vaccination Systems and Strategies Inventory. The inventory reviewed technology capacity like EHR and reporting, scheduling, provider skills, educational opportunities, and missed opportunities. Scheduling immunizations more than two months in advance, HPV specific reports, and coaching providers on talking with parents were the top three areas identified. We worked with the IT department to run HPV vaccination reports and stratify by dose, which was previously not possible. An alert was also added to the patient’s chart in the system to let providers know that a dose is due. We provided 4 in-services to providers and staff on HPV vaccinations, myths and facts, and how to talk to parents about the vaccine. At the start of the project in 2015, 15% of girls and 17% of boys in the project clinic sites had received dose 1 by their 13th birthday. By the end of the project in 2017, 54% of girls and 61% of boys received dose 1. 

Clinic Contact: Melissa Barajas, RN melissa.barajas@nhcare.org


CNHF President & CEO, Dr. Bassett H. Brown (left)  and Dr. Zuri Murrell (right).

2. The American Cancer Society has been working with Central Neighborhood Health Foundation since early this year and signed a Collaborative Action Plan in April 2017.  The quality improvement project was designed around implementing a client reminder system, enhancing patient knowledge about screening, training of staff, and using quality improvement tools to track evidence of change.  ACS supported the project by providing co-branded colorectal cancer screening reminder postcards and providing ACS patient education materials.  ACS also coordinated a physician-led colorectal cancer screening training for clinic providers and staff with Dr. Zuri Murrell, Medical Director of the Colorectal Cancer Center of Excellence at Cedars-Sinai.   A key message of the training was that everyone has a role to play in ensuring patients are educated about colorectal cancer screening. 

Ruth Ble, Vice President of Clinical Quality Management at CNHF reported some recent successes after observing their colorectal cancer screening rates increase from 30.57% in July 2017 to 44.71% in September 2017.  The have set a goal to reach 50% by December 2017 and ACS will continue to provide support and guidance as they strive to reach this target. 

Clinic Contact:  K. Ruth Ble, Vice President of Clinical Quality Management, Email: rble@cnhfclinics.org, Phone: (213) 536-5815 ext. 013

Our partnerships with CHCs have been critically important in advancing cancer prevention and early detection with the underserved medically vulnerable of California.  If you would like more information on how the American Cancer Society can assist your Community Health Center, please email:  Anna Rosenbaum at Anna.Rosenbaum@cancer.org

3. In October 2016, Venice Family Clinic received an NFL funded grant from The American Cancer Society focused around breast cancer screening and awareness.  Project tasks include increasing the number of women educated on breast cancer screening and increasing the number reached through client reminders.  The project also aims to increase the number of women reached through navigation to screening.  From October 2017 through September 2017, over 1900 Venice Family Clinic patients received a mammogram.  Eleven women were diagnosed with cancer, validating the importance of targeted interventions.   The project has been extended through March 2019 with colorectal cancer screening added as a second area of focus.  Most recently Venice Family Clinic hosted a successful Crucial Catch Day event on October 11th with over 150 participants attending this health fair event to receive information on breast and colon cancer screening.  ACS relies on partnerships with Federally Qualified Health Centers like Venice Family Clinic to bring awareness about the importance of early detection and prevention to local underserved communities. 

Clinic Contact:  Rigoberto A. Garcia II, Director of Health Education, 2509 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405, 310-664-7831, rigobertogarcia@mednet.ucla.edu