Posted March 2, 2012
As a pathologist and the medical director of cytology at The Methodist Hospital (“Methodist”) in Houston, Dina R. Mody, MD, FCAP, has witnessed the devastating consequences when cancer is diagnosed in its advanced stages. When Dr. Mody learned about the alarming numbers of Latina women in her own community without access to screenings for cervical cancer, she was determined to do something about it. What she did changed the lives of 108 women.
Dr. Mody took the lead by forging a partnership between the CAP Foundation’s main funding program, See, Test & Treat™, and Dia de la Mujer Latina, also known as Day of the Latina Woman or DML, an annual health screening fair.
The partnership between See, Test & Treat and DML succeeded in helping underserved women overcome the obstacles they often face in receiving preventative care. See, Test & Treat provides cervical and breast cancer screening to medically underserved women—all in one day and at no cost. Dia de la Mujer (DML) is a community-sponsored health fair that serves Hispanic populations by providing breast and cervical cancer screenings in addition to screening for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The combined program took place on January 21, 2012, at the Southwest Community Center in Houston, Texas. During the five-hour event, 55 women received same-day cervical cancer screening and diagnosis through the CAP’s See, Test & Treat model. The program screened an additional 53 women, delivering their results the next day. Of the 108 tested through See, Test & Treat, eight women had abnormal Pap tests and five received colposcopies that same day.
Dr. Mody and Mary R. Schwartz, MD, FCAP, head of anatomic pathology and the director of the surgical pathology fellowship at Methodist, provided volunteer pathology services. The volunteer health care team also included residents and cytotechnologists from Methodist along with gynecologists and gynecologic oncologists from Methodist, Baylor College of Medicine, and MD Anderson Cancer Center.
The CAP Foundation supported the combined program with a grant of $8,000. Hologic, Inc., located in Marlborough, Massachusetts, donated $6,000 in supplies and equipment through the CAP Foundation.
A mobile mammogram machine, funded by DML and Methodist, was available on site. For the day’s event, DML also provided promotores (women from the community trained to engage and promote wellness in underserved communities). Each promotore was assigned a woman to lead through the screening process, serving as that woman’s “personal concierge.” First Lady Michelle Obama and Harold P. Freeman, MD, the world-renowned physician who developed the patient navigator model, have recognized the DML’s promotores program as a best practice.
Patricia Chevez-Barrios, MD, FCAP, along with residents from Methodist’s pathology department provided educational workshops on the cervical cancer screening. The standing-room only workshops stressed the importance of regular screening and offered the women the opportunity to ask questions and to consult with the pathologists.
The CAP and the CAP Foundation seek to expand the See, Test & Treat program to communities across the United States where the need for preventive care is most critical.