BOSTON, MASS. – Dec. 21, 2020– The American Cancer Society and National Football League (NFL) have awarded grants to two local health systems to safely increase cancer screenings during the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant funding was made possible through the Society's partnership with the NFL and the League's Crucial Catch campaign.
Codman Square Health Center in Dorchester has been awarded a $50,000 grant to focus on colorectal cancer screenings, and East Boston Neighborhood Health Center in East Boston has been awarded a $50,000 grant to focus on breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screenings. The work on both projects will occur during a 15-month period, which began in October 2020.
The grants are part of the Society's latest Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity (CHANGE) program, which provides funding opportunities as part of the Society's commitment to reduce cancer disparities. The American Cancer Society is committed to saving lives and addressing the burden of cancer through early detection.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to decreases in breast, colorectal, and cervical cancer screenings. These postponed screenings are creating a backlog that systems need to address as healthcare facilities gradually re-open for non-COVID-19 care," said Korey Hofmann, MPH, Cancer Control Strategic Partnerships Manager. "These funds will help support health centers as they create and adopt new processes and protocols to tackle this backlog and safely restart cancer screening."
"For more than a decade my family and the New England Patriots have been avid supporters of the NFL's Crucial Catch: Intercept Cancer campaign," said Josh Kraft, President of the New England Patriots Foundation. "Together with the American Cancer Society, the Patriots have provided millions of dollars to help our community with tools to reduce cancer risk and to better understand early detection to find cancers before they have a chance to grow and spread. The CHANGE grants will support the efforts of two outstanding health centers that are providing lifesaving services to those who live in and around Boston."
"We aim to return breast, colorectal, and cervical cancer screening rates to 2019 levels," said Dr. Karin Leschly of the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. "Our neighborhoods have been particularly hard hit with COVID-19 cases. This affects our operations for non-urgent medical needs and increases community members' fear and anxiety regarding access to routine preventative care. This CHANGE grant will enable us to hire a cancer screening navigator to focus on detailed patient tracking, patient reminders, patient education and motivation, and utilization of quality improvement methodology. We will also be able to focus on activities across five health center sites in East Boston, Winthrop and Boston's South End to support these various interventions to increase cancer screenings."
"COVID-19 completely upended the way we have traditionally provided care," said Rachel Hindin, MD, at Codman Square Health Center in Dorchester. "Colon cancer screening rates have dropped off notably since the start of the pandemic. We have remained connected to our patients by utilizing telehealth, but the ACS and NFL grant will enable us to provide more focused screening for our patients."
Since 2009, the NFL's Crucial Catch has raised more than $22 million in support of the American Cancer Society. Funding raised since 2012 has supported the Society's CHANGE program. This program promotes health equity and addresses cancer early detection disparities through community-based cancer prevention programs that increase access to necessary cancer screenings. Since 2012, the NFL has funded more than 200 projects in safety-net, primary care systems within 100 miles of an NFL market to increase cancer awareness and access to potentially life-saving screenings. To date, more than 1 million individuals have been reached with education, navigation, and screening reminders.
About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of 1.5 million volunteers dedicated to saving lives, celebrating lives, and leading the fight for a world without cancer. From breakthrough research, to free lodging near treatment, a 24/7/365 live helpline, free rides to treatment, and convening powerful activists to create awareness and impact, the Society is attacking cancer from every angle. For more information go to www.cancer.org.
About Crucial Catch
The NFL, its clubs, the NFL Players Association and the American Cancer Society are committed to the fight against cancer. Crucial Catch expands the impact of the NFL's work around breast cancer to address multiple types of cancer through prevention, early detection, and timely access to follow-up care as needed. Since 2009, the first year of the NFL's Crucial Catch campaign, the league's work has raised more than $22 million for the American Cancer Society. Money raised through Crucial Catch supports the American Society's Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity (CHANGE) program, which promotes health equity and addresses cancer-related disparities. Visit nfl.com/crucialcatch to learn more and get involved.
About the New England Patriots Foundation
The New England Patriots Foundation is the nonprofit organization established by Robert Kraft in 1994 to support charitable and philanthropic agencies throughout New England. The Foundation's primary goal is to support programs that aid the youth and families of the New England region by assisting programs that foster cultural diversity, education, family and health. The Foundation has taken special interest in youth programs that encourage education, creativity and development of character. Visit www.patriots.com/community to learn more.
About East Boston Neighborhood Health Center
The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) has been a vital part of the community for 50 years, providing easily accessible, high-quality health care to all who live and work in East Boston and the surrounding communities of Chelsea, Revere, Everett, Winthrop, and, most recently, the South End. EBNHC is the largest community health center in Massachusetts and one of the largest in the nation, now serving nearly 120,000 patients and employing more than 1,300 staff members. EBNHC is proud to be a 2020 Forbes Best-in-State Employer and a six-time awardee of the Boston Globe's Top Places to Work.
About Codman Square Health Center
Codman Square Health Center is a community-based, outpatient health care and multi-service center in the heart of Dorchester. It offers comprehensive care for the whole family, including primary, eye, dental, urgent, and behavioral health care, as well as many medical specialties. In addition, it is a community organization that provides financial and wellness programming.