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Traveling Toward Better Health: Roswell Park and Jericho Road Partner to Increase Cancer Screenings
Mary Reid, MSPH, PhD
Director of Cancer Screening and Survivorship
Roswell Park Cancer Institute
Whether you are moving across the city or to another part of the world, accessing quality health care can be challenging when relocating to a new place. That’s why Roswell Park Cancer Institute has a unique partnership with Jericho Road Community Health Center. While the overall missions of the two organizations may differ, they have one goal in common: to provide culturally sensitive medical care to those who are not native to the area and to members of the underserved communities of Buffalo.
Jericho Road provides medical services to those with limited access to healthcare, including families living in poverty, immigrants and refugees, and is designated as a Federally Qualified Health Center. Roswell Park focuses on the prevention, treatment and cure of cancer and has been designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute. Working together, Jericho Road and Roswell Park have created a healthcare team to provide information about cancer prevention and offer colorectal cancer screening.
From the very beginning, the team recognized potential barriers to colon cancer screening and developed practices to overcome those obstacles. Staff from both organizations collaborated to streamline patient referrals and helped to write teaching materials in several different languages.
Roswell Park took on the cost and responsibility of finding interpreters for several different languages, providing taxi transportation to and from appointments and streamlining pharmacy needs.
Roswell Park also added a health education specialist, Carly Nichols, to work as a liaison between Roswell Park and Jericho Road. “This program helps patients who have limited knowledge and understanding of cancer screenings and who may find it challenging to find their way through the health care system,” she says. “Patients are brought to Roswell Park and other locations based on their preferences. Our goal is to get people screened, wherever it’s most convenient for them.”
“Jericho Road is happy to collaborate with Roswell Park on this initiative,” says Myron Glick, MD, Founder of Jericho Road Community Health Center. “Patients at Jericho Road who may need special assistance with language, health information and transportation, and who have cultural differences, are better served with this effort. The program allows us to further expand our services and provide more integrated, comprehensive care to our patients.”
March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month — a good time for everyone to talk with their primary care provider about colorectal cancer screening. Screening is recommended for people over the age of 50, but should begin at an earlier age for anyone who has a history of polyps or a family history of the disease. The risk for colon cancer can be reduced when people make healthy lifestyle choices, such as avoiding tobacco products, limiting alcohol intake, eating a high-fiber diet, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly.
Roswell Park and Jericho Road began their partnership by offering a culturally sensitive effort to screen for colon cancer among the medically underserved communities in Buffalo. The organizations hope to expand their programs to include breast cancer screening for women and other cancer screening services. They are working tirelessly to remove barriers, create more efficient programs and develop working relationships with community organizations to increase cancer screening.
For more information about this program, call 716-881-6191, x460.
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