In the spirit of honoring and empowering women throughout the month of March, Colorado Community Heath Network (CCHN) would like to take the opportunity to highlight an ongoing project to improve screening rates for cervical cancer among low-income and underserved populations in Colorado. In July, 2015, CCHN was awarded $150,000 from the RCHN Community Health Foundation to launch a project to improve screening rates for cervical cancer at Community Health Centers (CHCs) across the state, with the goal of making significant health center system improvements to bring more women in for screening and follow-up.
Colorado has an estimated incidence of 160 new cervical cancer cases and 40 cervical cancer deaths each year, and the low-income, minority population served by CHCs is at elevated risk. While 59 percent of adult women received one or more tests to screen for cervical cancer, that rate is still below federal guidelines. With funding from RCHN, CCHN hopes see at least a five percent improvement in cervical cancer screening rates in six Colorado CHCs chosen to participate in the one-year pilot project, to be completed in July of 2016. In addition to screening rates, health centers will also work to enhance team-based care and increase the number of women receiving preventative care.
The six CHCs selected to participate in this project are:
- Denver Health Community Health Services in Denver, CO
- Metro Community Provider Network in Englewood, CO
- Mountain Family Health Center in Glenwood Springs, CO
- Clinica Family Health Services in Lafayette, CO
- Sunrise Community Health in Evans, CO
- Uncompahgre Medical Center in Norwood, CO
Now eight months into the project year, Victoria Gersuk, Quality Initiatives Manager at CCHN, reports that “all participating CHCs have made enormous strides in identifying gaps; documenting and adjusting workflow; creating provider and staff champions who are dedicated to increasing screening; redefining staff roles; increasing staff and patient education about the importance of screening; and really creating innovative ways to prioritize screening efforts.”
CHCs will be reporting on quantitative outcomes of the project as well, and while we don’t know for sure yet whether or not participating CHCs will see a five percent overall increase in cervical cancer screenings by the end of the project period, success has already been realized at all CHCs in regard to the improvements in workflow, clinic structure, and cervical cancer patient education that have directly resulted from implementation of this project.
Are you interested in a mission driven career that helps make a difference in patients’ lives? Check out the Mission Driven Careers Job Board or the CHAMPS Job Opportunity Bank for more information about rewarding careers with a Colorado CHC. To learn more about Colorado’s CHCs and other great work they are doing, visit CCHN’s website.