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National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable Recognizes Leaders in Colorectal Cancer Screening Efforts with 80% in Every Community National Achievement Award

National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable Recognizes Leaders in Colorectal Cancer Screening Efforts with 80% in Every Community National Achievement Award

March 1, 2021

Award honors individuals and organizations making tremendous progress toward the goal to achieve colorectal cancer screening rates of 80% and higher despite challenges with COVID-19

ATLANTA, March 1, 2021 — The National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (NCCRT), founded by the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is honoring leaders with the 2021 80% In Every Community National Achievement Award, given in recognition of distinguished, ongoing efforts to increase colorectal cancer screening rates across the United States.

Colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in men and women, yet it can often be prevented or found at an early stage, when it’s small and may be easier to treat, with regular screening.

“Regular colorectal cancer screening is one of the most powerful tools for preventing colorectal cancer or finding it early,” said Richard Wender, MD, Chair of Family Medicine and Community Health, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and NCCRT chair. “Yet screening rates remain low in many communities and the COVID-19 pandemic has further challenged efforts to address inadequate screening. We are honored to recognize the dedication of these community leaders that are working tirelessly to increase the number of people that have access to life-saving colorectal cancer screening, especially in disproportionately affected groups.”

80% in Every Community is an NCCRT initiative that works with community health centers, health plans, hospitals, health systems, employers, and others to reach 80% colorectal cancer screening rates nationally. More than 1,800 organizations have signed a pledge to make this goal a priority.

The 80% In Every Community National Achievement Award includes one grand prize winner and five other honorees. Each receives a monetary award to be used to support continued efforts to increase screening for colorectal cancer.

This year’s recipients include UCLA Health, Los Angeles, CA, as the grand prize winner; and other honorees include American Association of Medical Assistants, Chicago, IL; Arkansas Cancer Coalition, Little Rock, AR; Cynthia Yoshida, MD, Charlottesville, VA; Esperanza Health Centers, Chicago, IL; and St. Vincent de Paul Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ.

Award winners will be recognized during the annual NCCRT Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month Webcast on March 16 at 3:00 PM ET featuring Dr. Wender and other guests celebrating the successes of the 80% in Every Community initiative and sharing more about colorectal cancer screening. Register to attend the live webcast and learn more about increasing colorectal cancer screening rates.

More details about this year’s recipients:

$3,000 Grand Prize Winner:
Category: Hospital/Health System
UCLA Health, Los Angeles, CA
UCLA Health provides health care to over 600,000 unique patients annually across Southern California. The UCLA Health Colorectal Cancer Awareness Campaign, launched in 2019, is the first system-wide cancer awareness and prevention effort at UCLA. The campaign is a health leadership commitment to increase colorectal cancer and screening awareness in the UCLA Health patient, provider, and staff community and in the greater Los Angeles area, including medically underserved populations. The multi-faceted campaign has included public awareness events, Dress in Blue Day, patient and provider education, patient-directed educational videos, community lectures, radio and media appearances, employee wellness and nutrition lectures, and a social media campaign. Starting in March 2020, the campaign adapted to provide virtual screening and awareness messages due to COVID-19 and has evolved to include a stronger focus on stool testing to allow patients access to screening from home. Despite national decreases in screening due to the pandemic, UCLA Health has seen an overall 10 percentage point increase in screening among the 389,000 primary care enrollees it serves and is currently planning a myriad of activities to further promote screening in March 2021.

$1,000 Honoree:
Category: Professional Association
American Association of Medical Assistants, Chicago, IL

The mission of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) is to provide the medical assistant professional with education, certification, credential acknowledgment, networking opportunities, scope-of-practice protection, and advocacy for quality patient-centered health care. In 2019, the AAMA partnered with NCCRT to launch a year-long education initiative to inform and equip medical assistants to educate patients about the importance of colorectal cancer screening and to help patients overcome barriers to being appropriately screened. The initiative featured continuing education offerings and articles in its bimonthly publication, CMA Today, during March 2020 and Medical Assistants Recognition Week in October 2020. A centerpiece of the AAMA’s initiative is the course Medical Assistants’ Roles in Improving Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates: Getting to 80%, which 3,964 individuals have successfully completed. Further, AAMA social media posts have resulted in approximately 183,613 impressions. The AAMA’s initiative affirms the vital role that medical assistants and other allied health professionals play in increasing colorectal cancer screening and contributing to the 80% in Every Community campaign.

$1,000 Honoree:
Category: Cancer Coalition/State Roundtable
Arkansas Cancer Coalition, Little Rock, AR

The Arkansas Cancer Coalition’s (ACC’s) mission is to facilitate and provide partnerships to reduce the human suffering and economic burden from cancer for the citizens of Arkansas. Formed in 1992, the ACC has led a multi-faceted approach to increase colorectal cancer screening rates among Arkansans with the engagement of numerous state partners, including the Arkansas Department of Health, the American Cancer Society, clinic and health system administrators, clinicians, and policymakers, among others. Uniting behind the shared goal to increase colorectal cancer screening rates, ACC members have collaborated on multiple colorectal cancer public awareness, advocacy, and provider education efforts. Major accomplishments include the awarding of nearly $400,000 in competitive grants to foster screening rate improvements across the state, largely in rural counties with lower income populations. Between 2012 and 2018, statewide screening rates rose from 56% to 66%, increasing 10 percentage points in six years compared to the national rate increase of four percentage points during this same time period (65% to 69%).

$1,000 Honoree:
Physician Champion
Cynthia Yoshida, MD, Charlottesville, VA
Dr. Cynthia Yoshida is a gastroenterologist, professor and medical lead for the University of Virginia Cancer Center Colorectal Cancer Screening Program. She also co-chairs the newly revitalized Virginia Colorectal Cancer Roundtable. A longtime advocate for colorectal cancer screening, Dr. Yoshida has led the development of a multifaceted colorectal cancer screening program at UVA to enable improved access to quality screening for employees, patients, and under-resourced communities across Virginia. Her team has been integral in building out a free colorectal cancer screening program, which has provided screening for over 400 uninsured patients in rural Virginia. This work is currently being expanded through partnerships with gastroenterology practices to ensure timely follow up to positive FIT tests with free or negotiated rates for colonoscopies, thus developing a safety net for the uninsured. Dr. Yoshida has also served on a number of committees for the American Gastroenterological Association and has been an active member of the American College of Gastroenterology and American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

$1,000 Honoree:
Community Health Center
Esperanza Health Centers, Chicago, IL

Founded in 2004, Esperanza Health Centers’ mission is to deliver health and hope for Chicago’s underserved communities. In 2016, Esperanza began applying their team-based care approach to increase colorectal cancer screening rates from a baseline of 43% in 2015. In this model, every patient works with a dedicated three-person team – care coordinator, medical assistant, and provider – with each team member’s skills leveraged to best effect. Also instrumental is Esperanza’s data dashboard, which tracks screening rates monthly and allows them to identify care teams that are exceeding their goals and capture and share their best practices. Screening rates climbed to 69% in 2016 and reached 80% in 2017, with rates remaining above 80% through 2019. In 2018 and 2019, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) designated Esperanza a National Quality Leader, an honor bestowed on fewer than 5% of federally qualified health centers nationwide. With COVID-19, care teams are focused on delivering fecal immunochemical tests (FITs) with prepaid mailers along with frequent reminders.

$1,000 Honoree:
Category: Free Clinic
St. Vincent de Paul Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ

St. Vincent de Paul Medical Center, a free clinic based in Phoenix, Arizona, works to sustainably increase the health and well-being of the community, by empowering those who have the greatest need, yet the least resources. Since its founding in 1977, the clinic has evolved into a comprehensive health center providing thousands of visits annually to patients who are largely uninsured, undocumented, and speak only Spanish. Prior to 2015, the clinic had not practiced preventative medicine and the colorectal cancer screening rate was 8%. The clinic began a quality improvement project to increase rates and developed a standardized protocol utilizing a medical assistant-driven fecal immunochemical test (FIT) program. Staff identified and implemented numerous best practices, including destigmatizing testing methods, establishing standing orders, adopting standardized protocols, implementing a user-friendly patient registry, and communicating regular reminders. For the past four consecutive years, the clinic has reached or exceeded screening rates of 80%. The clinic is now working to catalyze regional improvements by sharing best practices and resources with other Arizona Safety Net clinics.

To learn more about the NCCRT, and the 80% In Every Community initiative, visit

SOURCE American Cancer Society

For further information: Emily Butler Bell, NCCRT, American Cancer Society, 404.653.5228, [email protected]


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