Program aims to boost Virginia colorectal cancer screening rates

The Community Health Center of the New River Valley in Christiansburg, Va., is expanding its partnership with the UVA Cancer Center in Charlottesville, Va., with the goal of increasing colorectal cancer screening rates to 80 percent of eligible patients.

The centers will hire a cancer screening navigator for the Community Health Center of the New River Valley's three locations to increase patient access to colorectal cancer screenings, according to an Aug. 9 news release. The initiative is backed by a three-year, $600,000 grant from the Jeffress Trust Grant Program.

The Community Health Center of the New River Valley is a nonprofit hospital that serves patients regardless of their ability to pay.

With assistance from an integrated Translational Health Research Institute of Virginia grant, the centers ran a pilot program from 2019 to 2021 that helped increase the percentage of eligible patients screened from 30.5 percent to 47.3 percent. This was accomplished using automated reminders through patients' electronic medical records and phone call reminders.

The expanded partnership aims to get 80 percent of eligible patients screened by developing patient-friendly educational materials and providing additional training for the community health center's staff, the release said.

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