Quick Hit Thursday November 14th, 2013, 2:54pm

Guest Post: City’s Mammogram Program To Stay Open, Still More Work To Be Done To Expand Access

The following post comes from the Public Health Organization.

The Public Health Organization (PHO) applauds the City’s decision to keep the mammogram program open and provide additional funding to Roseland Community Hospital to expand mammography services to low-income, uninsured women.
"I continue to champion breast cancer screenings, because it saves lives! Next year's budget contains $2.2 million for breast cancer screenings maintaining the City's current funding levels for mammography services despite the loss of a $300,000 state grant. I encourage both women and men to get screened and I’m happy these services will be made available to an additional 1,500 uninsured patients at Roseland Community Hospital,” Alderman Carrie Austin shared in a statement.

Since this past spring, the PHO has been monitoring the Chicago Department of Public Health’s plans to close and privatize the Breast Health Program out of concern for its impact on the already fragile breast cancer prevention and treatment system serving low-income, uninsured women living on the South and West Side. Prior to the budget hearing last month, the group convened a press conference with Aldermen Austin (Ward 34), Dowell (Ward 3), Graham (Ward 29), Hairston (Ward 5), Lane (Ward 18), and Mitts (Ward 37) urging the City to keep the program open and commit to improving and expanding access. The group points out that the breast cancer mortality rate among African-American women in Chicago is 62% higher than that of white women.
The PHO hopes the decision is a signal of the City’s commitment to further investing in strengthening the overall breast health infrastructure in Chicago.
“While an additional $200,000 in funds to provide mammography services in the Roseland community is a positive development, there remain additional neighborhoods on the South and West Side in dire need of these preventive and treatment services,” stated Michelle Gardner, a public health nurse and PHO member.
“Significant resources and investment are still needed to ensure the breast health care system provides access to the highest quality care to all residents regardless of their insurance status and geographic location,” shared Corey Barnes, Director of PHO.
“We are appreciative of the commitment these city leaders have shown to breast cancer prevention and believe they were instrumental in ensuring the City did the right thing on this issue, stated Dr. Odie Payne, Vice President of PHO.


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