Interview with UCLA Health—Grand Prize Recipient of the 2021 80% in Every Community National Achievement Award

July 26, 2021 – Author: Folasade May, MD, PhD, MPhil

On March 1, UCLA Health became the Grand Prize recipient of the 2021 80% in Every Community Awards, a program designed to recognize individuals and organizations who are dedicating their time, talent and expertise to advancing needed initiatives that support the shared goal to achieve colorectal cancer screening rates of 80% and higher.

My name is Fola May. I am a Gastroenterologist and health services researcher at UCLA Health and focus on colorectal cancer prevention and health care disparities. I am also the Director of Quality Improvement for Digestive Diseases. In that capacity I help run health system efforts to improve quality of care for patients with gastrointestinal and liver diseases.

 

Tell us a little bit about UCLA Health and the organization’s colorectal cancer screening program.
UCLA Health is a large, integrated tertiary care medical center in Southern California with over 55 primary care sites and approximately 390,000 primary care enrollees. We also have five endoscopy procedure units that perform about 15,000 screening colonoscopies per year. The health system leadership designated colorectal cancer screening a high priority area in 2018 and since then has committed several resources to our quality improvement program and awareness campaign.

When and why did UCLA Health decide to focus on increasing colorectal cancer screening?
We recognized several years ago that colorectal cancer screening and early detection were areas where we could have much more impact. Our screening rates were quite low at the time—at round 50%. There were also several changes in our health system around that time that supported this new focus: health system leadership embraced the opportunity to improve our screening rates, we extended our capacity for screening colonoscopy by adding endoscopy units, and we started using more stool-based screening tests like the fecal immunochemical test (FIT). We also implemented a new electronic health record (EHR) system at around that time, and that platform allowed us to improve documentation of screening utilization. All of these changes resulted in an ideal environment with the tools, resources, and leadership needed to launch our first systemwide cancer awareness program focusing on colorectal cancer.

What activities and systems changes did you implement, and how did you choose them?
We had three major goals of the campaign. First, we wanted to increase awareness about colorectal cancer risk and screening utilization among UCLA patients, staff, and faculty. Second, we aimed to establish a formal quality improvement program to continuously track and improve care processes related to the screening and early detection of colorectal cancer. Third, we aimed to engage and support community partners throughout Los Angeles County to address colorectal cancer disparities.

We knew very early that we wanted a campaign that addressed patients, providers, our own staff, and beyond. To raise awareness among the patients we serve, we hosted several public events, often using the massive inflatable colon to engage patients walking to or from appointments on campus. We also identified patients with insightful personal stories about getting screened, receiving colorectal cancer care, and survivorship. We have continuously shared these patient stories on social media, and it has become a major means to bring people into the conversation about colorectal cancer.

There were also a few activities we did specifically for UCLA Health staff and providers. We held multiple Dress in Blue Days to raise awareness about colorectal cancer. Employees were also invited to lunchtime lectures about colorectal cancer screening, prevention through nutrition, and overall wellness.

One of our larger public-facing efforts was an informational social media campaign for which we had help from several advocates and influencers, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tyra Banks, and Maria Menounos. Through social media, we were able to share content—educational videos, webinars, infographics—to reach a broader audience. Several UCLA Health providers participated in radio show interviews, editorials, local television commercials, and information sessions that were geared towards both patients and providers who wanted to learn more about colorectal cancer. Many of these resources are available on our patient resource page.

I understand you took a multifaceted approach to your campaign. How did this work?
Our Colorectal Cancer Workgroup is the force behind our quality improvement efforts, which is a major component of the campaign. The workgroup is a multidisciplinary team with representation from gastroenterology, primary care, population health, quality improvement, family medicine, geriatrics, oncology, and surgery. So we have champions in many of our clinical divisions and departments to help us improve care processes related to getting patients screened. In addition, we work very closely with UCLA marketing and media. A lot of the success of our quality efforts and annual campaign comes from having this diverse representation of expertise at the table.

What success have you seen? How did you measure that success?
We try to measure success several different ways. For our first goal to increase colorectal cancer screening rates, we have been actively measuring screening rates and screening modalities for our health system. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been able to maintain a 10 percent increase in colorectal cancer screening for our system. Using more FIT during the COVID-19 pandemic was instrumental.

Other markers of success for the quality improvement program include our FIT mailing program, FIT navigation program, and several additional interventions that we’ve used at the provider and patient levels to increase screening rates. We’ve been able to not only roll those programs out, but also evaluate them and publish the results. I think that’s how we measure the success of the QI part of the campaign.

It is a bit more challenging to measure the impact of our efforts on the broader community and county, but we remain encouraged that we have been able to engage so many people through our website and social media efforts. We have travelled with the inflatable colon to two safety net hospital affiliates that see a larger proportion of medically underserved people of color and non-English speakers. I’m most proud of that community engagement and value that we have been able extend the campaign beyond UCLA.

What tips would you offer to others that are working to increase colorectal cancer screening in hospitals and health systems?
My first tip is that it takes a village. You really need to have the right people in the room to do this work in a large health system, and you need to have health system leadership support. I have enjoyed working with my partners in primary care, quality improvement, and population health. And the only reason why any of this work happens is because we embedded our programs in primary care where most colorectal cancer screening originates.

One other tip is to set very specific goals. It was easy for us to stay on task because we had three specific goals. We knew we wanted to increase awareness, increase screening, and implement a QI program. And we focused only on activities related directly to those goals. So having very specific, realistic goals and the infrastructure and resources to achieve them was essential.

Did you leverage any organizational or community partnerships to support your campaign?
We have partnered with the American Cancer Society and with Boston Scientific. Boston Scientific provides our large inflatable colon. We also partner with two local safety net hospitals and an organization of community health workers or promotoras who provide preventive health workshops and trainings in Latino communities in Los Angeles.

Do you have any final tips for our readers who are working to achieve 80% in Every Community?
This work is challenging and time-consuming but also very rewarding and inspiring. I have always loved patient care and my research, but doing this campaign has been an incredible way to work across clinical disciplines in a meaningful way. The stories that confirm the importance of the work are endless.

There was a gentleman we encountered one afternoon when we were out with the inflatable colon. He was walking from the health system to his car with his wife and happened to be leaving from his colonoscopy appointment. They had just left his procedure and they saw the inflatable colon so came by. He proceeded to share pictures from his procedure with all of the other individuals passing by, explaining that he had a polyp and that he was happy that the doctor got it out. He was proud that he had completed his colonoscopy and was telling everyone, “I just got mine. It’s not bad. Go get it done.” It’s moments like those that stick with me—and hopefully with others. We all need to yell from the mountain top that this disease is preventable.

Thank you for sharing your story with us! We look forward to hearing more about your work and UCLA Health’s progress in the future.

We highlight successes, leaders, best practices, and tools that are making an impact in the nationwide movement to reach 80% screened for colorectal cancer.

Do you have a suggestion for a future blog topic? We welcome you to share your suggestions by emailing nccrt@cancer.org.

BLOG POLICY

Opinions expressed in these blog posts are that of the author and do not represent policies of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable or the author’s institution.

Our staff moderate all comments on the 80% Blog. While we do not censor based on point of view, we will delete or edit comments that are offensive or off topic. Click here to view full version.

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:
Category:
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:
Category:
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 https://nccrt.org/.

SOURCE American Cancer Society

For further information: Emily Butler Bell, NCCRT, American Cancer Society, 404.653.5228, Emily.Butler@cancer.org

CRC News: September 25, 2020

Dear NCCRT Members,

 

We hope you and your families are staying safe and well. We have a few updates to share with you this week.

 

Agenda Posted & Registration Opening Next Week!: 80% in Every Community Conference & NCCRT Annual Meeting

Next week you will receive an email inviting you to register for the annual meeting of the NCCRT membership, which is now expanding to include the 80% in Every Community Conference, to be held virtually on Monday, November 16th and Tuesday, November 17th.

Strategic Priority Team (formerly task groups) meetings will be held in the weeks leading up to the conference, and sign-ups are open now. The NCCRT Orientation session will also be held in advance of this year’s conference.

Please save the dates and visit the 2020 80% in Every Community Conference and NCCRT Annual Meeting webpage to view the agenda and learn about sponsorship opportunities.

Learn More

Join a Strategic Priority Team

We Need Your Help to Find Best Practice Examples of CRC Screening During COVID-19!

What is your organization or healthcare setting doing to help patients continue getting screened for colorectal cancer during COVID-19? We’re looking for emerging best practices and innovations to share at our annual meeting and conference and on the 80% Blog. Please share what you are doing through this brief form!

NCCRT Leadership News

We wanted to share the news with you that NCCRT Steering Committee member, Dr. Durado Brooks, will be retiring from his position with the American Cancer Society early next month. Dr. Brooks began his career at ACS in 2000 and has served as the NCCRT’s permanent ACS representative to the NCCRT Steering Committee since that time. He has also co-chaired the NCCRT Community Health Center Task Group since 2012. Dr. Brooks’ work in colorectal cancer prevention and early detection and his unwavering commitment to health equity and reducing disparities will have a lasting impact on all of us and on our ongoing efforts to reach 80% in Every Community. Please join us in thanking Dr. Brooks for his many contributions to our mission and wishing him well in his next chapter.

Reminder: Call for NCCRT Steering Committee Nominations

We are currently seeking nominations for the NCCRT Steering Committee, which provides strategic guidance to the NCCRT through participation in Steering Committee meetings, calls, and the NCCRT Annual Meeting. Steering Committee responsibilities include strategic planning, membership approval, oversight of NCCRT projects, and general leadership. The term of service is for two years beginning November 2020 and is renewable for one term. The names of nominees are submitted to the Nominating Committee, which reviews the nominations and selects the slate of Steering Committee candidates. The slate of candidates will be presented by email to the NCCRT membership prior to the Annual Meeting to be voted on at the Annual Meeting, which will be held virtually on November 16th and 17th.

Self-nominations are accepted. Traditionally, the Nominating Committee has preferred candidates who have a history of engagement with the NCCRT. Representatives from our Corporate Associates may not serve on the Steering Committee, but they may nominate other candidates. Please note that nominees are not guaranteed a spot on the Steering Committee, as this can be a competitive process. Having said that, we are grateful to all individuals who are willing to put themselves forward as nominees. Serving on the Steering Committee is a big commitment, and Steering Committee members play a vital role in the work of the NCCRT.

If you are interested in submitting your name to the Nominating Committee for consideration or would like to nominate someone, please email Emily Butler Bell at Emily.Butler@cancer.org by end of day Thursday, October 1st. Nominees are asked to submit a Statement of Interest (1,000 word maximum) along with a CV by this deadline.

Fight Colorectal Cancer Announces Grant Opportunity

Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC), an NCCRT member, announced a grant funding opportunity through the Catalyst State-by-State Advocacy Program which aims to accelerate progress toward turning aspirational colorectal cancer screening goals into reality by increasing access and reducing barriers to colorectal cancer screening. Grants will be provided to state-level programs that can demonstrate readiness to build coalition and partnership activity with the end goal of implementing state-level policy change to advance colorectal cancer screening. Grant awards will range from $10,000 to $50,000 and will be disbursed over a two-year period. Grant funding will be supplemented with action planning support and other technical assistance from Fight CRC. Learn more about the Catalyst Program and apply by the deadline on October 15, 2020.

New American Cancer Society Website for Comprehensive Cancer Control Programs

For over 20 years, the American Cancer Society (ACS) has provided training and technical assistance to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Comprehensive Cancer Control Program (CDC NCCCP) grantees and coalitions. As part of that technical assistance, ACS recently launched a new website, www.acs4ccc.org, which compiles ACS resources to inform the work of comprehensive cancer control (CCC) programs/coalitions. Explore links to webinars, toolkits and online courses produced by ACS CCC, as well as curated links to coalition-friendly info and resources from across the ACS enterprise — Roundtables, state data, health equity resources, and cancer guidelines.

 

Many thanks for the great work you do.

 

The NCCRT Team

 

 

Did you miss a past edition of CRC News? Visit the News & Research archive.

 

Do you have a colleague that would like to be adding to receive our newsletter? Please encourage them to sign up to receive CRC News.

 

Learn more about Sponsoring Our Activities

 

CRC News: September 10, 2020

 

Dear NCCRT Members,

We hope you and your families are staying safe and well. We have a few updates to share with you this week.

But first, we wish to share our heartfelt condolences with the family, friends, and fans of Chadwick Boseman, whose death serves as a sobering reminder that we have much work to do to tackle rising rates of colorectal cancer in young people and unacceptably high colorectal cancer death rates in the Black community. But it is his life and portrayal of the strength of the human spirit that inspires us to fight in his honor. We are humbled by the collective action that’s been taken to raise awareness that is following in the wake of his death. There are far too many examples to list here, but we’re inspired by the multitude of responses to his death, including this article from the New York Times featuring Rebecca Siegel, MPH, the scientific director of surveillance research at the American Cancer Society; this PSA about colorectal cancer and screening from gastroenterologists across the US; a PSA call to action to get screened from Dr. Rachel Issaka of Fred Hutch; a recent CNN piece by Dr. Folasade May of UCLA; as well as numerous statements and interactive conversations hosted by NCCRT members and other partners. We encourage you to follow @NCCRTnews and tag us in your posts to keep up this life-saving conversation.

Registration Opening Soon!: 80% in Every Community Conference & NCCRT Annual Meeting

Later this month registration will open for NCCRT’s annual meeting of the NCCRT membership, which is now expanding to include the 80% in Every Community Conference, to be held virtually on Monday, November 16th and Tuesday, November 17th from 1 to 4:30 pm ET each day. Task group meetings and our NCCRT Orientation session will be held in the weeks prior to the meeting. Timing for these sessions and registration will be announced in the next couple weeks. Meanwhile, please save the dates and learn more about the 2020 80% in Every Community Conference and NCCRT Annual Meeting, as well as sponsorship opportunities.

Call for NCCRT Steering Committee Nominations

We are currently seeking nominations for the NCCRT Steering Committee. The NCCRT Steering Committee provides strategic guidance to the NCCRT through participation in Steering Committee meetings, calls, and the NCCRT Annual Meeting. Steering Committee responsibilities include strategic planning, membership approval, oversight of NCCRT projects, and general leadership. The term of service is for two years beginning November 2020 and is renewable for one term. The names of nominees are submitted to the Nominating Committee, which reviews the nominations and selects the slate of Steering Committee candidates. The slate of candidates will be presented by email to the NCCRT membership prior to the Annual Meeting to be voted on at the Annual Meeting, which will be held virtually on November 16th and 17th.

Self-nominations are accepted. Traditionally, the Nominating Committee has preferred candidates who have a history of engagement with the NCCRT. Representatives from our Corporate Associates may not serve on the Steering Committee, but they may nominate other candidates. Please note that nominees are not guaranteed a spot on the Steering Committee, as this can be a competitive process. Having said that, we are grateful to all individuals who are willing to put themselves forward as nominees. Serving on the Steering Committee is a big commitment, and Steering Committee members play a vital role in the work of the NCCRT.

If you are interested in submitting your name to the Nominating Committee for consideration or would like to nominate someone, please email Emily Butler Bell at Emily.Butler@cancer.org by end of day Thursday, October 1st. Nominees are asked to submit a Statement of Interest (1,000 word maximum) along with a CV by this deadline.

New Healthy People 2030 Goals Released

The Healthy People initiative addresses public health priorities by setting national objectives and tracking them over the decade. The newly released objective for colorectal cancer screening, Increase the proportion of adults who get screened for colorectal cancer — C‑07, aims to increase the proportion of adults who receive a colorectal cancer screening based on the most recent guidelines to 74.4 percent by 2030, which represents an increase from the previous Healthy People 2020 target of 70.5 percent. Healthy People 2030 also includes an objective to reduce the colorectal cancer death rate to 8.9 colorectal cancer deaths per 100,000 population and there is an objective that is under research to increase the proportion of persons with newly diagnosed colorectal cancer who receive genetic testing to identify Lynch syndrome (or familial colorectal cancer syndromes).

Relevant Journal Articles and Publications

 

Many thanks for the great work you do.

The NCCRT Team

 

Did you miss a past edition of CRC News? Visit the News & Research archive.

Do you have a colleague that would like to be adding to receive our newsletter? Please encourage them to sign up to receive CRC News.

Learn more about Sponsoring Our Activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating the Life of Dennis Ahnen, MD, Gastroenterologist, Researcher, and Advocate in the Fight Against Colorectal Cancer

It is with great sadness that we share that Dennis Ahnen, MD, a visionary leader in relentless pursuit of our shared goal to save lives from colorectal cancer, died at home surrounded by his family on August 16, 2020. In addition to his many contributions as a renowned gastroenterologist, researcher, and advocate, Dr. Ahnen was an enduring contributor to the NCCRT for many years. He was also a generous and genuine friend to so many of us.

Dr. Ahnen served as the co-chair of the NCCRT Family History and Early Age Onset Colorectal Cancer Task Group from 2012, spearheading the group’s expansion from a focus on family history to include early age onset disease in 2016. He played a leadership role in convening a full day Early Age Onset Colorectal Cancer Summit in December 2017, which helped define key research questions and action steps to guide NCCRT partners in addressing the emerging trends. Dr. Ahnen also served as an NCCRT Steering Committee member from 2014 to 2018, contributing much to the NCCRT’s first unified effort to reach or exceed 80% colorectal cancer screening rates nationwide, 80% by 2018, and later to our current 80% in Every Community campaign. He generously devoted his time and expertise to countless NCCRT publications, resources, and trainings, including leading a systematic review on what we know and don’t know about family history and colorectal cancer; conducting a major survey of GIs, primary care providers and geneticists to determine what clinicians should be collecting about a patient’s family history in their EHRs; and leading development of a cutting edge module for clinicians to help them improve their processes around family history collection and the actions that family history should trigger.   

Dennis was a natural leader who radiated a very genuine warmth, fun, optimism, and curiosity. His curiosity helped the rest of us see things that we wouldn’t normally see, coupled with a unique ability to explain his vision in an accessible way that very gently brought the rest of us along to solutions that have saved and will ultimately save many lives.   

Dr. Richard Wender, NCCRT chair, shared his reflections on Dr. Ahnen and his lasting contributions to our shared work: “There is no shortage of incredible leaders in the national effort to increase colorectal cancer screening, but Dennis’ passion and commitment to the cause were truly exceptional. To honor his legacy, I’m pleased to announce that this year we are honoring Dr. Ahnen with the Roundtable’s Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award. We were able to share the news with Dennis and his wife Carol a few weeks ago and he was truly touched. We hope you’ll join us at the 2020 80% in Every Community Conference and Annual Meeting of our membership to learn more about his work and celebrate his life. His legacy lives on in our work and his memory will further inspire our commitment to saving lives from this disease for years to come. We will all miss him very much.”

Dr. Ahnen’s contributions in his career as a clinician, researcher, and advocate are innumerable, leading him to receive additional high honors in his field, including the American Gastroenterological Association William Beaumont Prize, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Collaborative Group of the Americas on Inherited Gastrointestinal Cancers, and the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Laurel Award for National Leadership.

Please join us in expressing our sincere condolences to Dr. Ahnen’s family. Visit his memorial webpage to learn more about Dr. Ahnen’s many contributions and to leave your own tribute message. The site will be updated soon to include information about how to participate in his Celebration of Life on Saturday October 3rd at 3PM Mountain Standard Time

National Colorectal Cancer Organizations Release Guidance on Screening Tests Amid COVID-19

The guidance, “Reigniting Colorectal Cancer Screening as Communities Face and Respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic,” consolidates research findings and recommendations developed by expert bodies and provides a playbook enabling advocates to work together in reigniting screening efforts appropriately, safely and equally.

Americans are at risk of 18,800 estimated missed or delayed diagnoses of CRC from early March through early June due to delayed or canceled colonoscopy screening tests and patient fears about COVID-19. Delayed diagnoses could result in more than 4,500 additional CRC deaths over the next decade.

These estimates add to preexisting screening disparities in underserved populations.

“We have an urgent need to help everyone be screened for colorectal cancer,” said Dr. Rich Wender, NCCRT Chair. “Now we have the guidance needed to offer safe, accessible screening for everyone.”

The guidance provides four aligning statements to coordinate a national response to screening delays and declines, abbreviated below.

1. Despite the pandemic, CRC remains a public health priority, and we must remind the public about safe opportunities to prevent and detect colorectal polyps and cancer.

2. Colonoscopy remains safe, and identifying patients who should receive higher priority for colonoscopic screening is critical.

3. While the pandemic may limit elective screening colonoscopy in some regions, screening can be conducted safely through at-home stool-based tests. 

4. Reigniting screening activities will be highly dependent upon local regulatory requirements, public health priorities, and policy change.

“We can be safe in a pandemic and continue saving lives,” said Michael Sapienza, CEO of the Alliance. “COVID-19 demands that we find new solutions to encourage and make possible CRC screening tests for all communities. We ask that healthcare providers and organizations don’t lose sight of the risk presented by CRC in lieu of COVID-19.”

In 2020, the American Cancer Society estimates 147,950 will be diagnosed with CRC and approximately 53,200 will die, making CRC the second-leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. when men and women are combined.

The guidance originates from an Alliance and NCCRT meeting in May that convened experts to discuss how to limit the effects of COVID-19 on CRC diagnoses.

About the Colorectal Cancer Alliance

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance is a national nonprofit committed to ending colorectal cancer. More at www.ccalliance.org.

About the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable

The National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, established by the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1997, is a national coalition dedicated to reducing the incidence of and mortality from colorectal cancer in the U.S. More at www.nccrt.org/.

Contact:

Steven Bushong
sbushong@ccalliance.org
(330) 957-0484

Expert Stakeholder Panel Focuses on Colorectal Cancer Screening in the COVID-19 Era

COVID-19 has produced far-reaching and significant health impacts, including a drastic reduction in all cancer screenings. In response, national nonprofit Colorectal Cancer Alliance and the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable—an organization founded by the American Cancer Society and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—convened a panel of prevention and screening experts to offer a united response and propose national guidance on improving colorectal cancer screening rates during the COVID-19 era. 

Colorectal cancer screenings have dropped by 86% relative to averages prior to January 20, 2020, according to an analysis by Epic Health Research Network. As a result, Americans are at risk of up to 18,000 missed or delayed colorectal cancer diagnoses in the early March to early June timeframe, according to a report by the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science.

“Colorectal cancer rates will not relent in the face of COVID-19 and neither can the healthcare leaders working to stop this deadly but highly preventable disease,” said Michael Sapienza, CEO of the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. “It was hard enough to convince people to go get screened for this disease without COVID-19, now we face even more severe challenges.” 

The expert panel discussion, which occured on May 5, produced four critical points from which further communications and recommendations will emerge:

  1. Despite the challenges we face during the pandemic, we must provide the public with safe opportunities to prevent and detect disease whenever possible.  
  2. Colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable cancers.
  3. During a time when availability of elective screening colonoscopy may be limited by the COVID-19 pandemic, colorectal cancer screening can be safely offered through at-home stool-based tests. A positive stool-based test identifies an individual with a higher risk of colorectal cancer, for whom colonoscopy should be prioritized.
  4. Resumption of screening activities and public messaging will be highly dependent upon regulatory requirements in local geographic areas and public health priorities.

Individuals should speak with their doctors about the best colorectal cancer prevention plan for them.

In 2020, the American Cancer Society estimates that 147,950 will be diagnosed with this disease and approximately 53,280 will die, making colorectal cancer the second-leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. when men and women are combined. Screening can prevent many cases of colorectal cancer through the detection and removal of precancerous growths. Colorectal cancer screening can also detect cancer at an early stage, when treatment is usually less extensive and more successful. Patients have access to a variety of screening options that are safe, affordable and in some cases, can be performed at home.

“COVID-19 is one of most extraordinarily complex issues we’ve ever encountered in health care, due to the demographic variability and unique challenges it presents both the public and healthcare workers, including the emotional aspects,” said Dr. Richard Wender, Chair of the NCCRT. “I believe we need to figure out how to start screening as soon as we can, and I believe we can do it safely.”

At a time when various stakeholders are engaging in battle on the frontlines against COVID-19, the panelists engaged in thoughtful discussion about the long-term health, moral and economic consequences on colorectal cancer screening. The multi-stakeholder panel uniquely represented a variety of perspectives, including professional associations, public health organizations, patient organizations, screening companies and other thought leaders committed to preventing colorectal cancer and providing the safest recommendations for screening to the public. The Colorectal Cancer Alliance, NCCRT and the other represented organizations panel will continue working on communications and recommendations for the public, media and healthcare professionals. 

About the Colorectal Cancer Alliance

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance is a national nonprofit committed to ending colorectal cancer. Working with our nation of passionate allies, we diligently support the needs of patients and families, caregivers, and survivors; eagerly raise awareness of preventive screening; and continually strive to fund critical research. As allies in the struggle, we are fiercely determined to end colorectal cancer within our lifetime. Learn more at www.ccalliance.org

About the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable

The National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, established by the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 1997, is a national coalition of public organizations, private organizations, voluntary organizations and invited individuals. The coalition is dedicated to reducing the incidence of and mortality from colorectal cancer in the U.S., through coordinated leadership, strategic planning, and advocacy. The ultimate goal of the NCCRT is to increase the use of proven colorectal cancer screening tests among the entire population for whom screening is appropriate. The NCCRT established the 80% in Every Community initiative which is dedicated to partnership, collective action, and the pooling of resources to reach 80% colorectal cancer screening rates nationally. Learn more at www.nccrt.org/.

Media contact:

Maurisa Turner Potts
maurisapotts@gmail.com
(P) 703.501.6289

Interview with Kaiser Permanente Northern California: 80% By 2018 National Achievement Award Honoree

February 20, 2020 – Author: Theodore Levin, MD

In February 2019 Kaiser Permanente Northern California became an Honoree recipient of the 80% by 2018 National Achievement Awards, a program designed to recognize individuals and organizations who are dedicating their time, talent and expertise to advancing needed initiatives that support the shared goal to achieve colorectal cancer screening rates of 80% and higher.

TRLevinDr. Theodore Levin is a gastroenterologist with the Permanente Medical Group in Walnut Creek California. He is clinical lead for CRC screening with TPMG and a research scientist at the KPNC division of research. 

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.3 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health.

Tell us a little bit about Kaiser Permanente Northern California and the organization’s colorectal cancer screening program.
Kaiser Permanente Northern California serves 4.3 million members, with a focus on prevention and total health. Beginning in 2006, Kaiser Permanente developed a population-based colorectal cancer (CRC) screening program to systematically deliver screening to age-eligible patients. We use a combination of Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) kit outreach and colonoscopy to systematically screen Kaiser Permanente Northern California members for CRC. All our members who are eligible for screening are mailed a kit in the year they turn 50. Following the first kit, all average risk members are mailed a FIT kit each year as they become due for screening through age 75. Colonoscopies are available for higher risk members and for those who would prefer to have that screening procedure.

Members coming due for surveillance colonoscopies are tracked using a regional database. We have a robust, multi-modal reminder and tracking system to help ensure that all members who need to be screened for colorectal cancer are encouraged to do so by phone, online through the Kaiser Permanente member portal (called kp.org), and/or by mail.

When and why did Kaiser Permanente decide to focus on increasing colorectal cancer screening?
Colorectal cancer screening has been a focus of Kaiser Permanente Northern California going back to the early 1980s. We published the first case-control study demonstrating the effectiveness of screening for CRC with sigmoidoscopy in 1992. In the mid 1990s, the preferred screening test was flexible sigmoidoscopy.

With the introduction of the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) metric for CRC screening, we discovered that our screening rate was lower than we expected. Using the new FIT screening tests that were available, we saw an opportunity to implement mailed outreach to improve our screening rates. As a result of our mailed outreach and automated reminders program, we saw our screening rate increase dramatically, from 40% to over 80%.

What activities and systems changes did you implement, and how did you choose them?
Our program is based on mailed outreach, automated electronic reminders, goal setting, dissemination of best practices, and feedback on performance. A key change was to proactively send out FIT kits through a systemic outreach program. This allowed members to complete their screenings in the privacy of their home in advance of their due date, regardless of whether they were coming in for an office visit. We also have an electronic reminder system that enables all of our clinicians and staff to see when our members are due for CRC screening, which means we remind our members to complete screening during every interaction they have with Kaiser Permanente. Every primary care provider receives updates regarding how many of their members are up to date with their screenings. In addition, leaders at each medical center share best practices for contacting unscreened members to reach screening goals. This includes specific training on culturally responsive approaches for promoting screening. Outreach messages are also tailored to be culturally responsive.

What success have you seen? How did you measure that success?
Over 10 years, our CRC screening rate increased from 40% to over 80% across the Northern California region. We reduced cases of colorectal cancer by 26% and reduced colorectal cancer related deaths by 52% among our members in Northern California. We published these results in Gastroenterology in 2018.

What tips would you offer to others who are working to increase colorectal cancer screening in hospital systems like yours?
Mailing FIT kits to members’ homes is an extremely effective way to increase CRC screenings because members can do the test in the comfort of their own homes; there is no need for an office visit. At the same time, the engagement of clinicians and staff is needed for additional outreach to members, and to emphasize the importance of screening when members come in for office visits.

Were there tools, trainings or resources that you found helpful?
The Community Guide, which is published by the Community Preventative Services Taskforce, was extremely valuable when we were starting our program. We also learned a lot from the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) Bowel Cancer Screening program.

Do you have any final tips for our readers that are working to achieve 80% in Every Community?
Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. No matter where you are and what resources you have available, you can always start with some amount of outreach for screening. Be sure to test your materials to make sure they are inclusive of all members of your community, measure your impact, modify your program based on your learnings, and continuously improve.

 

We highlight successes, leaders, best practices, and tools that are making an impact in the nationwide movement to reach 80% screened for colorectal cancer.

Do you have a suggestion for a future blog topic? We welcome you to share your suggestions by emailing nccrt@cancer.org.

BLOG POLICY

Opinions expressed in these blog posts are that of the author and do not represent policies of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable or the author’s institution.

Our staff moderate all comments on the 80% Blog. While we do not censor based on point of view, we will delete or edit comments that are offensive or off topic. Click here to view full version.

Interview With Bryan Green, MD—80% By 2018 National Achievement Award Honoree

January 16, 2020 – Author: Bryan Green, MD

In February 2019 Dr. Bryan Green became an Honoree recipient of the 80% by 2018 National Achievement Awards, a program designed to recognize individuals and organizations who are dedicating their time, talent and expertise to advancing needed initiatives that support the shared goal to achieve colorectal cancer screening rates of 80% and higher.

BryanGreen_BlogPostDr. Bryan Green is one of five physicians at the Digestive Disease Group in Greenwood, South Carolina. He joined the practice in 2004 after completing his gastroenterology fellowship. Dr. Green is a past President of the South Carolina Gastroenterology Association (SCGA) and has promoted the Colon Cancer Prevention Network, a partnership between the University of South Carolina’s Center for Colon Cancer Research and several SCGA member physicians to perform free colonoscopy screenings to underinsured patients throughout South Carolina. He also has strengthened the relationship between the SCGA and the Medical University of South Carolina Digestive Disease Center through partnerships in meetings, seminars, and research studies. Every March, Dr. Green volunteers at the statehouse as the South Carolina Medical Association doctor of the day in honor of Colon Cancer Awareness Month. Dr. Green has participated in the Digestive Disease National Coalition (DDNC) Legislative Weekend to advocate for colorectal cancer treatment and prevention funding from Congress. He is part of a team of physicians, nurses, and patients that meet with congressional members to encourage funding for digestive health.

Tell us a little bit about your colorectal cancer screening program.
In 2008, my practice of five gastroenterologists in Greenwood, South Carolina, along with two others in a nearby county, partnered with the Center for Colon Cancer Research at the University of South Carolina. Through this partnership, we offered free colonoscopies to the uninsured or underinsured at our endoscopy center. We screened 200 patients and found numerous polyps and two cancers. We realized, however, that this was a challenging group of patients to care for due to various limitations (e.g., limited literacy, transportation, etc.). In 2010, we approached the South Carolina Legislature and BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and received a grant to hire patient navigators to help address these challenges. We also spread the word and enlisted other gastroenterologists throughout the state to participate. The program continued to grow to the point that we now have over 80 participating gastroenterologists and have provided free screening colonoscopies to over 3,000 uninsured patients. And we are still growing!

When and why did you decide to focus on increasing colorectal cancer screening?
My practice of five doctors provides all the gastrointestinal care in our five-county area; thus, we see the end result of not screening (i.e., patients showing up in the ER with advanced-stage colorectal cancer and obstructions). Many of these people will suffer and die needlessly. I was so saddened to hear that many of these people knew the benefits of screening but were not able to afford it. I vowed to do everything I could to prevent that from happening in my community.

What makes your program unique compared to other programs?
We began as a grassroots effort by a small group of physicians and researchers without any initial governmental or institutional support. We then realized we could leverage this by obtaining grants to employ patient navigators. We still rely on the generosity of healthcare providers to give their time and use of their independent endoscopy centers to provide this free care. The financial support for the patient navigators from the South Carolina Legislature has allowed us to serve far more people better and save more lives.

What activities and systems changes did you implement, and how did you choose them?
We realized the importance of patient navigators in helping these patients be best prepared and ready for their procedure.

What success have you seen? How did you measure that success?
Our good or excellent prep rate in participating patients went from 60% to nearly 90% after implementing the patient navigator program.

 What tips would you offer to others that are working to increase colorectal cancer screening in medical communities like yours?
Most people go into health care because they want to help others. Bureaucratic red tape, regulatory, and payment issues often stifle this, but most people still have that desire to serve inside them. I gave these providers a way to express that it is truly better to give than to receive.

Were there tools, trainings or resources that you found helpful?
Reaching out to different parties to utilize their unique skills and talents. Myself and my physician colleagues can do colonoscopies and remove the polyps but that is just the final part of the process. I was able to involve survivors, patient advocates, nurses, the media, businesses, corporations and even eventually the legislature to all work towards our goal. We could never have achieved what we did without the participation of all parties. Colorectal cancer is so prevalent that almost everyone knows someone that has been affected by it and most people are glad to help if you just ask.

Do you have any final tips for our readers that are working to achieve 80% in Every Community?
Never doubt the willingness of people to volunteer their time and energy help prevent colorectal cancer in their community. I am continually impressed and humbled by the dedication and unity of so many individuals to help conquer colorectal cancer.

 

We highlight successes, leaders, best practices, and tools that are making an impact in the nationwide movement to reach 80% screened for colorectal cancer.

Do you have a suggestion for a future blog topic? We welcome you to share your suggestions by emailing nccrt@cancer.org.

BLOG POLICY

Opinions expressed in these blog posts are that of the author and do not represent policies of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable or the author’s institution.

Our staff moderate all comments on the 80% Blog. While we do not censor based on point of view, we will delete or edit comments that are offensive or off topic. Click here to view full version.

Interview with Kentucky Cancer Consortium—80% By 2018 National Achievement Award Honoree

September 25, 2019 – Author: Jennifer Redmond Knight, DrPH

In March 2019 Kentucky Cancer Consortium became an Honoree recipient of one of the 80% by 2018 National Achievement Awards, a program designed to recognize individuals and organizations who are dedicating their time, talent and expertise to advancing needed initiatives that support the shared goal to achieve colorectal cancer screening rates of 80% and higher.

Headshot_jredknightDr. Jennifer Redmond Knight is a part-time Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Management and Policy and is a member of the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center Cancer Control Program. She serves as the evaluation and sustainability specialist for the Kentucky Cancer Consortium, as co-principal Investigator for the Kentucky LEADS (Lung Cancer, Education, Awareness, Survivorship) Implementation of Quality Lung Cancer Screening Component, and as the principal investigator for a Lung Cancer Health Equity grant focused on workplaces with predominantly male employees. Her recent publications focus on lung cancer screening, an environmental scanning process and understanding barriers to colorectal cancer screening in Kentucky. She has extensive experience in group facilitation, partnership sustainability, program development, epidemiology, evaluation and policy, systems and environmental change efforts. Dr. Knight specializes in building trust with stakeholders, and maintaining positive relationships across governmental, private, and nonprofit sectors, while building enthusiasm and support around complex issues in public health. Her current primary focus areas relate to Health Care Reform/Health Care Access and Cancer, Lung Cancer Prevention and Early Detection, Colon Cancer Prevention and Early Detection and cancer prevention and control evaluation. 

We’re excited to feature your work on the 80% Blog. Can you tell us about yourself, and your colorectal cancer screening program at Kentucky Cancer Consortium?
I’m the evaluation and sustainability specialist for the Kentucky Cancer Consortium and have been involved in leading cancer prevention and control efforts at the community and state levels for the past 16 years. Since 2002, the Kentucky Cancer Consortium has prioritized increasing colorectal cancer screening through convening more than 50 collaborative partners and catalyzing these partners to do more together than we could ever do on our own.

Tell us a little bit about Kentucky Cancer Consortium and the organization’s colorectal cancer screening program. How did Kentucky Cancer Consortium come together to collaborate on colorectal cancer screening? How did you identify partners?
The Kentucky Cancer Consortium (KCC) is a statewide comprehensive cancer control coalition comprised of over 70 Kentucky member organizations and 450 partners committed to reducing the significant cancer burden in Kentucky. In 2002-2003, KCC worked closely with the Kentucky Cancer Registry and other founding members, the American Cancer Society, American College of Surgeons, Kentucky Cancer Program and the Kentucky Department for Public Health to review surveillance data as well as available evidence-based interventions and selected colorectal cancer screening as a priority.

The KCC staff and founding members invited the entire Consortium membership to be involved, and our partner organization, the Kentucky Cancer Program, invited their local community-based District Cancer Councils to be involved. This group included academia, community-based organizations, health systems, health insurance companies, nonprofits/foundations, state and local government, policy organizations and professional associations. As implementation efforts continued, new partners were identified and invited to be part of the collective effort to increase colorectal cancer screening in Kentucky. This process continues as we continue to recognize gaps and needs in order to address health equity challenges.

What activities and systems changes did you implement, and how did you choose them?
KCC provided an infrastructure and a neutral “table” where partners can “sit” and work together to impact colorectal cancer in Kentucky. This included hosting regular meetings and statewide conferences, and creating opportunities for networking, coordinating, cooperating and collaborating. This infrastructure helped to catalyze efforts from more than 50 organizations who have implemented the following types of interventions: public awareness; education and outreach; provider education and training; health systems changes; policy changes (legislative, executive and organizational); and research. We chose these interventions based on funding opportunities, priorities selected from statewide conferences, reviewing the evidence, identifying champions, recognizing political will, determining needs for the state, and timing. For instance, one of our first policy changes was a statewide colorectal cancer screening program for the uninsured because we realized that we had a large population who could not access screening. However, when the Affordable Care Act was passed and Kentucky expanded Medicaid, Kentucky had one of the lowest uninsured rates in the country. Therefore, we needed to adjust our efforts and work with health systems and communities in order to help those with insurance access screening services. KCC continues to work with partners to review the data, including evaluation data, and determine what needs to be implemented in order to address gaps in screening coverage.

What success have you seen? How did you measure that success?
Between 1999 and 2016, our screening rates rose from 34.7% to 70.1%, improving more than any other state in the nation and moving from a ranking of 49th to 17th. As of 2016, one of Kentucky’s 15 Area Development Districts had achieved an 83% screening rate and four others have increased screening rates by more than 30% since 2006. As screening rates have risen, colorectal cancer incidence and mortality rates have declined dramatically. From 2001 through 2015, the incidence rate fell from 68.8% to 51.3% (a 25% decrease), while the mortality rate fell from 22.6% to 16.4% (a 27% decrease). As a result, each year in Kentucky almost 400 Kentuckians who would have been diagnosed with colorectal cancer are not diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and 200 Kentuckians who would have died from colorectal cancer don’t die from it. We measured our success by reviewing our Kentucky Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey data as well as our Kentucky Cancer Registry data.

Kentucky-Jennifer Redmond - Elizabeth Westbrook - Katie Bathje with Poster 17 (1)

What tips would you offer to others that are working to increase colorectal cancer screening in statewide coalitions like yours?
Develop your infrastructure and support funding and staff time to convene partners in a neutral forum (e.g. KCC at the state level and the Kentucky Cancer Program at the regional level). Communicate consistently, clearly and regularly. Take the time needed (which is A LOT!) to build relationships and trust among partners. Keep reviewing the data, monitoring progress and evaluating efforts. Find out what is working well and what needs to be improved or modified. Find out what gaps and needs you have, and work together to address those needs. When you pass statewide, health system or organizational policies, develop a plan to implement those policies. Discuss and develop clear roles and responsibilities for each partner. Bring out the best in others and find as many “win-win” opportunities as you can. Celebrate successes!

Were there tools, trainings or resources that you found helpful?
Tools and resources provided by the following organizations and programs have been particularly helpful: Kentucky Cancer Registry, United States Cancer Statistics, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Guide to Community Preventive Services, the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (e.g. Guide to the Development of State-Level Colorectal Cancer Coalitions, How to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening Rates in Practice: A Primary Care Clinician’s Evidence-Based Toolbox and Guide and the 80% by 2018 Communications Guidebook: Recommended Messaging to Reach the Unscreened), CDC’s Comprehensive Cancer Control Program and the extensive resources provided by our partner organizations. We recommend participating in NCCRT trainings when available! Ask your partners and colleagues what they have available, and try to find ways to work together rather than always create something new.

Do you have any final tips for our readers that are working to achieve 80% in Every Community?
In order to achieve 80% in every community, we have to keep listening to our communities, find out what is working and what is not working, and be willing to make adjustments to reach those who have not yet been screened. We also need to work together to ensure that those who have their initial screen come back for their repeat screenings (e.g., annual FIT test). Although our goal is 80% screening in every community, we need to find ways to engage new partners in our states and communities to address colorectal cancer prevention (nutrition, physical activity, environmental exposures, etc.) as well as increasing screening.

CHHS-DressInBlue_Group_alreadyin

We highlight successes, leaders, best practices, and tools that are making an impact in the nationwide movement to reach 80% screened for colorectal cancer.

Do you have a suggestion for a future blog topic? We welcome you to share your suggestions by emailing nccrt@cancer.org.

BLOG POLICY

Opinions expressed in these blog posts are that of the author and do not represent policies of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable or the author’s institution.

Our staff moderate all comments on the 80% Blog. While we do not censor based on point of view, we will delete or edit comments that are offensive or off topic. Click here to view full version.