Michigan Program Increases Breast Cancer Screenings Among Black Women

Armen Hareyan's picture

A southeast Michigan initiative has increased the number of black womenin 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 blackmembers received regular mammograms, compared with 81% of whitemembers. HAP helped develop the initiative in conjunction with the Henry Ford Health System and several major local employers.


Underthe initiative, which targeted 500 black women, program coordinatorsfirst determined the barriers preventing women from being screened.According to their findings, many women said they were too busy or toofrightened of the results to get a mammogram. In response, thecoordinators developed several methods to encourage the women to bescreened, including supplying them with educational materials andoffering incentives such as a $20 gift card to Target. HAP also calledthe women at home, and the American Cancer Societysent correspondence and other literature to follow up after the phonecall. As a result, 135 women, or 27%, of the participants eitherreceived 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.

HAPspokesperson Tiffany Baker said that HAP plans to continue the programand intends to focus on a larger population. Michigan Surgeon GeneralKimberlydawn 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).

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