ATHENS — Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Community Health programs was awarded $127,736 from the Susan G. Komen Columbus to provide breast education and screening services to an estimated 600 women in 15 southeastern Ohio counties.

OU-HCOM CHP was one of 22 breast health programs to receive more than $1.46 million in funding from Komen Columbus.

“Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer in Ohio are more likely to die from the disease than almost anywhere else in the United States due to multiple barriers such as access to affordable care and treatment and challenges to navigating the healthcare systems,” said Julie McMahon, director of mission at Komen Columbus.

“In the communities we serve, we have identified issues contributing to those problems and focused our support to organizations that bring local solutions to those barriers.”

This year’s program takes two approaches:

• Screening Navigation programs are focused on educating women about risk and hot to access care through their insurance, and how to navigate the healthcare system to get screenings. These programs also address any barriers, including cost for the uninsured or other barriers like transportation.

• Continuum of Care programs are focused on ensuring that any woman who gets an abnormal screening result has the support she needs to make critical decisions and get the highest quality care, as well as support for any barriers from high out of pocket costs to transportation and psychosocial support.

Komen Columbus has invested more than $18 million in a 30 county service area in central and southeast Ohio through education and breast health programs.

The $1.46 million was raised through the efforts of supporters participating in the many special events and fundraiser held annually, including the Columbus Race for the Cure and the 2015 Athens Race for the Cure.

The funds will help OU-HCOM CHP Healthy Adult Project: Breast Education and Screening Program combat breast cancer incidence and mortality. It will also help find solutions for disparities in breast cancer across populations and aid cutting-edge programs in finding a cure.

Through the partnership of Komen Columbus and the Southeast Ohio community, the inaugural Athens Race for the Cure on Sunday, October 25, 2015 raised more than $107,665. Those dollars were invested to several community programs in Southeast Ohio.

The Healthy Adult Project: Breast Education and Screening program, which is provided by Heritage College’s Community Health program and supported by Komen Columbus offers breast health education, breast cancer screenings, clinical breast exams, vouchers for mammograms, and other breast diagnostic referrals and follow-ups at an onsite Athens clinic and on a fully equipped mobile unit that travels southeastern Ohio.

“We understand the impact of screening and early detection and are proud to partner with Susan G. Komen Columbus in an effort to reach those women who are falling through the cracks in southeastern Ohio,” said Carole Merckle, B.S.N., R.N., assistant director of the Heritage College Area Health Education Center/Community Health Programs.

“The need for breast health services and education for all women living in a 15 counties service area continues to be great. The support and work of Komen Columbus allows us to provide the much needed breast health services for women in southeastern Ohio. For many women in this Appalachian region, the services provided by our Healthy Adult Program: Breast Education and Screening Program are the only available and accessible free breast screening, diagnostic, education and navigation services.”

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