Michigan Program Increases Breast Cancer Screenings Among Black Women
A southeast Michigan initiative has increased the number of black women in the area who receive mammograms, program officials said on Monday, the Detroit News reports. According to Mary Beth Bolton, chief medical officer for the Health Alliance Plan, the effort began after HAP data showed that 76% of health plan black members received regular mammograms, compared with 81% of white members. HAP helped develop the initiative in conjunction with the Henry Ford Health System and several major local employers.
Under the initiative, which targeted 500 black women, program coordinators first determined the barriers preventing women from being screened. According to their findings, many women said they were too busy or too frightened of the results to get a mammogram. In response, the coordinators developed several methods to encourage the women to be screened, including supplying them with educational materials and offering incentives such as a $20 gift card to Target. HAP also called the women at home, and the American Cancer Society sent correspondence and other literature to follow up after the phone call. As a result, 135 women, or 27%, of the participants either received a mammogram or made an appointment to do so, Bolton said.
The program has received an award from the National Committee for Quality Assurance, the News reports.
HAP spokesperson Tiffany Baker said that HAP plans to continue the program and intends to focus on a larger population. Michigan Surgeon General Kimberlydawn Wisdom said she is "delighted" with the program's results, adding, "I like how they are modeling a plan, a plan that can be used (to combat) other diseases" (Youssef, Detroit News, 11/13).