On the Road: We’ll bring the Mammogram to You.
Saint Thomas Health: Our Mission in Motion
On the road: We’ll bring the mammogram to you.
“We could have never done this without Komen,” said Lori Ward, Practice Manager, Saint Thomas Medical Partners (STMP) Mobile Health Outreach department.
Since 2011, when the Saint Thomas Health “Our Mission in Motion” (OMIM) mobile coach was purchased and began scheduling mobile mammograms throughout middle Tennessee, Susan G. Komen Central Tennessee (KCT) has provided more than $900,000 in support. The support initially was in the form of committing to fund one-half of the mobile unit itself, and then, to help with annual operations. In 2018, KCT provided $75,000, which covered 544 free mammograms.
As of January 2019, more than 20,000 screening mammograms have been performed in 26 counties in Susan G. Komen Central Tennessee’s Greater Nashville and Upper Cumberland service areas through the OMIM mobile mammography program.
Four to five days a week, a team of certified mammography technologists and a patient service representative travel to communities and screen approximately 25 women per stop.
“Our team has been with us since the very beginning in 2011, and they’re very dedicated and committed to our mission of serving the most poor and vulnerable,” Ward added. “Every day, we’re providing mammograms to women who haven’t had one in at least a year, and in many cases, for many years.” In addition to Ward, the team includes mammography technologists Kelly Large and Laura Patterson and Mobile Health Outreach Driver Jeff Patterson who drives the STMP Mobile Health Unit.
Ward says the mobile mammography unit provides both access and education—the two key factors in early detection and prevention of breast cancer.
“A lot of counties in this region have no mammography services at all,” she said. “Without our unit traveling to them, these women would have to travel, sometimes more than an hour away, to get their annual mammograms.”
The two main groups served by OMIM are women who are uninsured and companies whose employees have a hard time getting away from work for their health care.
“Funding from Susan G. Komen Central Tennessee allows us to provide free mammograms to women without insurance,” Mrs. Ward said. “The corporate employees are covered by their own health insurance.”
Looking ahead, Ward says the need continues to grow. “We desperately need a second unit so we can reach more women. We are receiving more and more requests for the unit,” she said.
Ward says screening guidelines for mammograms are: women must be age 40 or older; have no breast problems or have been diagnosed with breast cancer in the past five years; are not pregnant or breast feeding; and have not had a screening mammogram in the last 12 months.
“We are so thankful for all that Susan G. Komen Central Tennessee continues to do for the mobile mammography program,” Ward added. “We would not be able to provide as many free mammograms to women that desperately need this potentially life-saving exam if it wasn’t for Komen.”