Betty Jean Kerr People’s Health Centers has been a Susan G. Komen St. Louis grant recipient for 11 years. Through this funding, BJK People’s Health Centers is able to support its People’s Sister Connection (PSC) program. Women, specifically African-American women ages 40-49, receive the breast health care they need and deserve to fight breast cancer by taking part in this program.
“Research surveys show our target population is the medically underserved and/or uninsured,” says Claudine Robinson, PSC Program Project Manager. “This funding makes it possible to provide this population with services including breast health education, clinical breast exams and screening mammograms.”
With a goal of serving more than 2,700 women, those involved with the PSC program have been able to witness the effect that access to breast health care has had on their patients.
“I can think of many memorable moments,” says Claudine, “but one that sticks out vividly is one lady who was so appreciative of being able to receive her mammogram, she began to cry as she shared that she stopped getting her mammograms because she lost her job and she just could not afford health insurance.”
Claudine recalls another memorable moment: “A patient was diagnosed with breast cancer in March. She had no insurance and was unsure about how she was going to pay for and deal with the diagnosis. We provided coverage for her and she has had treatment and also had a mastectomy.”
These real-life cases undoubtedly encourage both those who are being helped and those who are doing the helping. Thanks to the Komen St. Louis grant, the PSC program can break down the walls that keep women from improving their breast health.
“Although BJK PHC finds there are many barriers that prevent women from accessing appropriate breast health care,” says Claudine, “with this Komen St. Louis funding the PSC program is successful in ensuring that eligible women have access to breast health services.”
In 2013, Komen St. Louis granted $2.2 million to 13 local breast health programs in our 17-county Missouri/Illinois service area, including Betty Jean Kerr People’s Health Centers’ People’s Sister Connection program. These grants help fund breast health and breast cancer screening, education and patient navigation services for those in our community who otherwise may not have access due to low income, lack of insurance or other barriers.