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Komen Sacramento Announces $850,000 in Grants to Local Organizations

The Sacramento Valley Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® awarded over $850,000 in grants to local organizations that deliver screening, patient support and education programs throughout the Affiliate’s 19-county service area. The announcement was made at a breakfast honoring top individual fundraisers from the 2011 Race for the Cure, held April 11 at The Mind Institute at UC Davis Medical Center.

“With these grants our Affiliate has invested $2.85 million in three years, specifically for women who are without insurance or are at higher risk,” said Executive Director Paula Birdsong. “For every dollar we raise, 25% is directed at research to find the cures and 75% supports local organizations that help women who need it most.”

Grants awarded to serve women in the greater Sacramento metropolitan area include:

• $50,000 to Hmong Women’s Heritage (Sacramento) to provide education to Asian-American and Pacific Islander women and three mammogram events. These women are at high risk for health problems and breast cancer is often detected at later stages because of language and cultural barriers that HWH address.

• $50,000 to UC Davis Cancer Center to expand peer navigator services to four rural counties (Butte, Sierra, Plumas and Nevada) and five other counties (Yuba¸ Sutter, Yolo, San Joaquin and Stanislaus) that experience disparities such as a lack of access to health care due to language and other cultural barriers. By recruiting bilingual survivors, this program seeks to increase screening rates and reduce anxiety during treatment.

• $50,000 to five UC Davis student-run clinics affiliated with the UC Davis School of Medicine to provide breast health education, community-based screening and financial support for at-risk and homeless women.

• $75,000 to the Sacramento YWCA to provide education and 400+ clinical breast exams, screening or diagnostic mammograms, breast ultrasounds and biopsies to women under age 40.

• A $75,000 grant to the California Health Collaborative to link patients to a variety of financial and support services, provide guidance in securing coverage for treatment and access to diagnostics for low-income, uninsured/underinsured symptomatic patients in 14 of the 19 counties served by Komen Sacramento.

• $50,000 to Clara’s House (Sacramento) to provide screening and diagnostic mammograms for women over 40 and for uninsured, high-risk women between 20-40 who do not qualify for county, state or federal health care services.

In Sacramento County there are 724,920 women representing a broad range of ethnicities. There are 27 screening facilities with 20 digital machines and 24 film machines, but with the largest population and an 18% rate of uninsured, the need for programs is significant. This is particularly true for women under age 40 who detect a suspicious mass but who are not eligible for the Every Woman Counts state-funded screening program due to their age.

“Every two years we undertake an in-depth study of each county to identify where the needs are the greatest,” said Mission Manager Melen Vang. “We look at the demographics, access to health care, diagnosis rates, mortality rates and economic conditions. The information then becomes the basis for our RFP process to ensure that we fill gaps and help ensure that all women have access to the care they need.”

In a region where unemployment and numbers of uninsured continue to be higher than the State averages, Komen Affiliate grants are often the only means of securing a mammogram for uninsured women, especially those under age 40. These grants may also provide more advanced screening services, such as ultrasound or biopsies when mammograms indicate abnormalities. In 2010-11 Komen funds provided over 10,000 screenings and 87 uninsured women were diagnosed with breast cancer as a result.

In addition to screening, Komen grantees also educate high-risk groups about the importance of early detection. African American and Latina women, for example, are diagnosed at the same rate as Caucasian women but have 36% higher mortality. Because there is a 98% survival rate for Stage I and II breast cancers, these grants potentially save many lives each year.

Nonprofit organizations throughout the region are welcome to attend a grant-writing workshop in late summer or early fall each year, where priority funding needs based on the community profile are shared. Grants are due approximately eight weeks later and applications are reviewed by an independent Community Review Panel. Members are asked to use their expertise to evaluate, score and make recommendations for grants to be funded to the Sacramento Valley Affiliate Board of Directors.  The Community Review Panel is comprised of health care professionals, breast cancer survivors, educators, advocates, community members, and other types of professionals (including accountants, attorneys, bankers, and other professionals.

Grants are awarded annually on April 1 and expire March 31 (the Komen fiscal year) with quarterly reporting to ensure compliance with grant requirements.

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