State awards UAB $120,000 for colonoscopy screening project

The Alabama Department of Public Health’s Cancer Prevention and Control Division has awarded two University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Surgery professors a $120,000 grant to continue a free colorectal cancer screening project. 

Gastroenterology and hepatology professors Robert Hollis, MD, and Patricia Ajayi-Fox, MD, will lead the project in its second consecutive year, according to a May 21 press release. 

Through the end of September 2024, the grant will provide colonoscopy screenings for low-income and under- and uninsured residents of Jefferson County, Ala.

The project's goal is to reduce health disparities in colonoscopy screening and colorectal cancer outcomes. During the 2022 and 2023 cycle, the project provided nearly 100  colonoscopies for low-income, under- or uninsured individuals who predominately came from minority backgrounds.

Of those procedures, one-half  identified and removed colon polyps and three early-stage cancers were identified and successfully treated.

The effort is conducted as a partnership with Cooper Green Mercy Health Services Authority,  an affiliate of the UAB Health System, and other local federally qualified health center clinics. The colonoscopies are provided at The Kirklin Clinic by UAB colorectal surgeons and gastroenterologists.

In conjunction with UAB Medicine and the Jefferson County Commission, Cooper Green is set to open a new facility in late 2024.

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