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Local Affiliate of National Health Organization Continues 16-Year Tradition of Funding Programs to Help Fill Gaps in Breast Health Services for Under-Served Populations
Date:9/2/2014

Kalamazoo, Michigan (PRWEB) September 02, 2014

Michigan’s health care landscape has evolved with the launch of the Affordable Care Act and the Healthy Michigan Plan. Throughout these changes, the Southwest Michigan Affiliate of Susan G. Komen remains a trusted funding resource for under-served individuals. Federal and state-funded programs will now be able to assist uninsured or underinsured women between the ages of 50 and 64 who have an income at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty level.

While this represents a large population, women with incomes above the stated guideline (but still considered impoverished) and/or women under 50 will not have access to these funds. Symptomatic women additionally often forego expensive diagnostic services like biopsies, preventing the opportunity to seek treatment and increasing the risk of a later stage, life-threatening diagnosis. To better serve this population of women, Komen Southwest Michigan partners with local organizations to provide quality breast health education and services.

“We try not to duplicate services and remain focused on the gaps. If someone else is filling a need, we identify other areas in our community’s breast health needs to address,” explained Jennifer Jurgens, Komen Southwest Michigan Executive Director. “Each year an independent grant review committee comprised of local public health constituents selects the most promising applications for funding based on priorities that address the needs in our community. This ensures that each year’s grant slate specifically addresses gaps in the continuum of care from education to screening, diagnosis and treatment.”

This year marks the eighth year Komen Southwest Michigan has provided funding to the Pink Saturdays program. Pink Saturdays provides free mammograms on selected days throughout the month of October for local uninsured women 40-64 years old with annual household incomes between 138% and 300% of the Federal Poverty Income. The scheduling hotline opens on Tuesday, September 2. Women can call 1-800-873-0649 to confirm they qualify and set an appointment.

“Komen Southwest Michigan’s programs are a wonderful complement to the services provided to individuals who qualify through the government-funded Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP),” said Lynn Jones, Kalamazoo County Health Department Coordinator. “However, BCCCP funds are limited, and not everyone who needs services qualifies. That’s where Komen Southwest Michigan comes in. For more than 16 years, they have worked to ensure that all people have access to quality breast health services regardless of their income, zip code or race.”

Individuals living in Southwest Michigan that have questions about breast health or need help accessing services can direct their inquiries to Komen Southwest Michigan.

“Often, a person will call us with questions or seeking services. After a brief conversation, we can help direct them to a grantee or one of the many partner programs available in our community, like the BCCCP program,” continued Jurgens. “Komen Southwest Michigan is a reliable resource for the community. If you need help, if you think there is a barrier keeping you from getting regular mammograms or checking on changes to your breasts, call us. Until there is a cure, early detection is our best weapon in the fight against breast cancer. We will continue our local programs and our global research projects until we end breast cancer forever.”

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About Susan G. Komen Southwest Michigan: Komen Southwest Michigan is an independent, local non-profit organization that is dedicated to combating breast cancer. Seventy-five percent of Komen Southwest Michigan’s net proceeds go towards programs and funding grants to local hospitals and community organizations that provide breast health education, screenings, diagnostics and genetics testing for under-served men and women in Allegan, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren counties. The remaining 25% funds global, leading-edge research focused on the prevention of, and cures for, breast cancer.    

Komen Southwest Michigan’s mission is to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality of care for all, and energizing science to find the cures. For more information call 877-566-3679 or visit http://www.komenswmichigan.org.

Connect with Susan G. Komen Southwest Michigan on Facebook at facebook.com/KomenSWMich and Twitter @KomenSWMI.

About Susan G. Komen: Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded more than $800 million in research and provided more than $1.6 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs serving millions of people in more than 30 countries worldwide. Komen was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life. Visit komen.org or call 1-877 GO KOMEN.

Connect with Susan G. Komen (National) on Facebook at facebook.com/susangkomen and Twitter @SusanGKomen.

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/09/prweb12136189.htm.


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