“Women, regardless of their economic status, should have the same access to screening. The mission of Komen aligns well with SSM in that regard,” says Sandy Cobb, program director at SSM Breast Care.
The team at SSM Breast Care works to save the lives of women with breast cancer through the Empowering and Engaging Women program. Hundreds of women have been served in the past year through the program’s Komen St. Louis-funded screening and diagnostic services.
“Our main objective is to reach as many women as we can so that they have the information and feel empowered to get screened and to know their risk,” says Sandy.
SSM Health Care’s St. Clare Health Center, St. Mary’s Health Center, St. Joseph Health Center, St. Joseph Medical Park and St. Joseph Hospital West service this program to women who would not otherwise be able to afford it. Komen St. Louis funding enables these facilities to assist uninsured and underinsured women in the community. This is the 11th year of Komen St. Louis funding for this program.
“So many people who don’t have health insurance, Komen enables me to bring them in,” says Mary Fitzgerald, nurse practitioner at SSM. “They are ‘the forgotten people,’ ‘the hidden population,’ and they have been so grateful.”
The nurse practitioners at SSM have the privilege of witnessing the impact of the Empowering and Engaging Women program every day.
“I see all of the women that come through, and many of the women we’re seeing have nowhere else to turn,” says Karen Schapp, nurse practitioner at SSM. “I’ve been a nurse for a long time now, and working with Komen has been one of the best things I’ve been involved with.”
In 2012, Komen St. Louis granted nearly $3.1 million to 25 local breast health programs in our 17-county Missouri/Illinois service area, including the Empowering and Engaging Women program at SSM. These grants help fund breast health and breast cancer screening, treatment, education and support services for those in our community who otherwise may not have access due to low income, lack of insurance or other barriers.