Susan G. Komen® Columbus gives college record grant for breast health program

Aug 7, 2018

Susan G. Komen® Columbus, a long-time supporter of the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine’s efforts to improve women’s health in southern Ohio, has awarded the college its largest Komen grant to date.

Since 2001, the nonprofit has consistently funded the Healthy Adult Project: Breast Education Screening & Navigation Program (HAP: BESNP), which is run by the Heritage College’s Community Health Programs. During that time, Komen has provided well over $1 million in grant funding to the program, which has also received financial support from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation.

This spring, Komen announced a round of grant awards to programs throughout its 30-county service area, including a new award of $195,000 to HAP: BESNP – the largest single award it has made to the program.

“Susan G. Komen Columbus helped the Heritage College get its breast health initiatives up and running nearly 20 years ago and has continued to be a great partner since that time,” said Carole Merckle, M.S.N., R.N., project director and assistant director of CHP and the college’s Area Health Education Center. “They’re helping us save lives by making sure women in our area, regardless of income, have access to the services they need to detect breast cancer early. We’re extremely grateful for their generous ongoing support.”

HAP: BESNP targets medically underserved women in 17 Appalachian Ohio counties: Athens, Fairfield, Gallia, Hocking, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Vinton and Washington. The program aims to increase access to breast health services and aid in early detection of breast cancer. It provides resources to allow more women to access services such as clinical breast exams, referrals and vouchers for screening mammograms, diagnostics and transportation, patient navigation and breast health education.

“Our partnership with Susan G. Komen is critical to our ability to provide much-needed services for women across southeast Ohio,” said Sherri Oliver, M.P.A., executive director of Community Health Programs and the college’s Area Health Education Center.

Merckle said HAP: BESNP will see some improvements in the coming year, as the Heritage College begins acting as the fiscal agent providing payments for health care services from four area providers: Fairfield Medical Center, Genesis Healthcare System, Adena Health System and OhioHealth. Patients also will continue to be able to receive HAP: BESNP services through the Heritage Community Clinic in Athens and through mobile clinics around the 17-county region.

In fiscal year 2017, HAP: BESNP provided breast health education to 830 people and health screenings to 372 women at 51 clinics throughout its service region. Under the new Komen grant, the program aims to serve more than 900 individuals with increased access to needed services.

“Komen Columbus is proud to work with the Heritage College to identify and build solutions to make high-quality breast health services accessible for the women in southeast Ohio, and to layer on the navigational support needed to understand a complex and difficult health care system,” said Julie McMahon, director of mission for Susan G. Komen® Columbus. “This partnership saves lives.”