news expansion of cancer screenings into community health centers will serve underserved in virginia

Expansion of cancer screenings into community health centers will serve underserved in Virginia

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UVA Cancer Center will partner with community health centers in Central, Southside Southwest Virginia to expand access to cancer screenings for underserved groups.

Supported by $500,000 grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), UVA will partner with Central Virginia Health Services, Tri-Area Community Health and Blue Ridge Medical Center, each of which serve patients regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.

Nearly 600,000 Americans die every year of cancer, making it the second-leading cause of the death in the nation. The HHS notes “that significant disparities remain in cancer screenings and follow-up care based on patients’ income, health insurance and race or ethnicity.”

The HHS grants support President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative, with a goal of closing the gap in cancer screenings. UVA Cancer Center’s partnerships with community health centers will provide easier access to breast and colorectal cancer screenings, raise awareness of cancer screenings and share best practices for improving screening rates.

“Over the last four years, CVHS and UVA collaborated on colon cancer screening, and it was a major success helping hundreds of patients in our communities,” said Dr. Randall Bashore, clinical director for Central Virginia Health Services. “I’m excited that we now have the opportunity to expand on that experience working with UVA and Tri-Area Community Health to address both colon and breast cancer screening.”

A UVA Cancer Center outreach specialist will work with community organizations to raise awareness of the benefits of getting screened for breast, colorectal and cervical cancer.

“We want to make sure everyone in our service area has access to care, and this grant will expand our services to people that would otherwise would not be able to get screened,” said Rick Shinn, CEO of Blue Ridge Medical Center.

“We look forward to collaborating with, and learning from, other health centers cross the Commonwealth,” said James Werth, Jr., CEO of Tri-Area Community Health. “We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the UVA Cancer Center and their willingness to help health centers like us help as many people as possible.”

UVA Cancer Center is one of 53 cancer centers in the U.S. designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute.

“Having more Virginians up-to-date on their cancer screenings is vital to saving lives,” said Wendy Cohn, Associate Director of UVA Cancer Center’s Community Outreach and Engagement. “We’re proud to work alongside our community partners to prevent cancer and cancer-related deaths.”


Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.