UVA Cancer Center and Community Health Center of the New River Valley are expanding their partnership to boost colorectal cancer screening rates to 80% of eligible patients. The two centers will hire a cancer screening navigator for the Community Health Center of the New River Valley’s three locations to help patients access the potentially lifesaving screenings. This expanded partnership builds on an 18-month pilot study funded by an integrated Translational Health Research Institute of Virginia (iTHRIV) grant which successfully increased the percentage of eligible patients screened from 30.5% to 47.3%.
Jamie Zoellner, PhD, a professor in the School of Medicine’s Department of Public Health Sciences says, “We know that colorectal cancer screenings save lives. Initiating a cancer screening navigation program within Community Health Center of the New River Valley will allow us to support providers’ capacity to increase colorectal cancer screening referrals and follow-through among their patients.” Professor Zoellner is associate director of UVA Cancer Center without Walls and provides leadership for community-based health equity initiatives, including outreach efforts in southwest and southside Virginia.
In addition to hiring a cancer center navigator, the Community Health Center of New River Valley’s other initiatives include more patient friendly educational materials and training for the community health center’s staff.