Susan G. Komen Michigan® Grants $710,455 to Local Breast Health Programs

Organization fully funds this year’s grant slate for Mid, Southwest and West Michigan and continues the tradition of supporting local breast health education, screening, diagnostic and survivor services.

Grand Rapids, Mich. / May 1, 2015 – The Michigan Affiliate of Susan G. Komen® announced today that they will be fully funding the entire grant slate within each of their service areas.  This is the first time in the organization’s history that they’ve been able to fully meet the annual, stated needs of each community.  The combined slate covers many aspects of the breast cancer care continuum, from awareness and education programs, to screening and diagnostic tests, and to ongoing, survivor care programs.

Each year Komen Michigan publishes a Request for Applications based on the priorities of the service area (currently 20 counties spanning West, Southwest and Mid-Michigan).  In 2015, Komen Michigan identified the following priorities for prospective grantees:

  • Priority One:Support access to breast screening services and/or diagnostics for women who are uninsured, under-insured, or have a high deductible who are either aged 40-49, under age 40 with a breast health concern, and/or who are under age 40 and considered high risk.
  • Priority Two:Promote breast health education and the importance of early detection and regular screening for low income women across the service area, particularly in the areas of:
    • Lansing, Jackson, and Ypsilanti with an emphasis on reaching Black women
    • Muskegon, Grand Rapids, and northern rural communities with an emphasis on reaching Black, Hispanic/Latino, and rural women
    • Kalamazoo, Calhoun, and Berrien Counties with a focus on Blacks
    • Branch, St. Joseph and Van Buren Counties with an emphasis on Hispanics and migrant farm workers.
  • Priority Three:Provide breast cancer survivors with programs offering emotional, social, and physical support during and following breast cancer treatment.

Applicants were directed to create programs that met the above-noted priorities, showing how they would fill the “gaps” in current federal and state breast health programs.  Organizations are still finding shortcomings in breast health where the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) screening mandate, The Healthy Michigan Plan (HMP or Expanded Medicaid) and Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Programs (BCCCP) aren’t meeting the needs of their communities.

“We work very hard each year to find and focus on the breast health gaps and inequities in Michigan,” explained Jennifer Jurgens, Komen Michigan Executive Director and breast cancer survivor. “We have developed partnerships with the hospitals, clinics and organizations on the front lines.  Working together, we identify and meet the needs in each community we serve.  Our granting process, from the work that goes into assessing the breast health needs in Michigan, to the RFA, and into the independent grant scoring and approval process, provides the checks and balances that ensure our donors and supporters that each year’s grant slate specifically addresses gaps in the continuum of care that aren’t being met by other programs.”

Grantees for 2015 include:

  • Allegiance Women’s Health Center – This program will provide access to 100 breast screenings which includes a clinical breast examination and mammogram and/or diagnostics for women who are uninsured, underinsured, or have a high deductible in Jackson County. The target population will be women age 40-64 and those under age 40, who are considered high risk.
  • Allen Neighborhood Center – In addition to outreach efforts to local churches, this program will continue breast health outreach to uninsured and under-insured women at Metro Lansing’s year-round farmers market, health fairs, and other events throughout the year. This includes free access to yoga and fitness classes and other local opportunities that contribute to a more active and health-focused lifestyle.
  • Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor – This program contains a three-part program, called Breast Cancer Support through the Continuum of Care, to address 1) nutrition, 2) support, and 3) transition to life post-treatment. Nutrition for breast cancer survivors will be addressed through breast cancer specific Cooking for Wellness classes and psychosocial support will be provided through a breast cancer specific support group in Washtenaw County.
  • Catherine’s Health Center – The “Count Me In” program will increase the number of low income women receiving appropriate breast care in Kent County. The program will educate 900 low income women about the importance of breast cancer screening, assist women to get free or low cost breast services (Patient Navigation), provide 290 clinical breast exams and 265 mammograms, fill available BCCCP caseload and work with collaborative partners to provide additional openings, assist women with abnormal screening results to access appropriate follow up in a timely manner (Case Management/Patient navigation), and provide reminders for annual exams for women.
  • City on a Hill Health Clinic – This program will provide physical exams and mammograms to uninsured women through a monthly clinic staffed by volunteer providers and a referral program for women who have a primary care provider but cannot afford a mammogram. The program will assist approximately 200 women who lack other resources for receiving this care and includes all races and urban and rural residents of Ottawa County. Qualifying women will receive no cost mammograms and follow-up care through a partnership with Holland Hospital (See below).
  • Gilda’s Club of Grand Rapids – The Sister-to-Sister Program will address and reduce cultural and socioeconomic disparities by removing barriers and empowering underserved women, primarily in Kent and Ottawa counties, to take an active role in their breast health by helping them receive important screening, and emotional and social support from diagnosis, through treatment, and beyond. Current key activities include individual/group support meetings, assistance with access to medical appointments and mammograms, non-medical home visits, health and nutrition seminars, art and fitness workshops, and other emotional and social support.
  • Grass Lake Sanctuary – This program will serve 40 low income, under-served female breast cancer survivors in the Southeast Michigan service area between age of 25 and 80. The weekend retreat addresses the sense of isolation and disconnect that can follow medical treatment by cultivating a deep sense of connection and belonging among program participants through mind-body techniques, yoga and social-emotional support. Survivors benefit from the health and longevity impacts of connecting to others, getting outdoors, eating better and exercising more often, and therapeutic massage.
  • Hackley Community Care Center – This program will offer education, breast screening and diagnostic services to low income women in Muskegon County. Key activities include: screening and diagnostic mammograms and/or MRI’s to at least 130 uninsured and under insured women, clinical high risk assessments at the Mercy Health Muskegon Campus Comprehensive Breast Health Center, and education and advocacy to at least 5,000 women, particularly African American and Hispanic.
  • Holland Hospital – First time grantee Holland Hospital will provide screening mammography, diagnostic breast imaging and breast biopsies to approximately 1/3 of the uninsured and under-insured women in Ottawa County. Their goal is to remove financial barriers and create greater access to breast screening and diagnostic services through partnerships with community organizations like City on a Hill.
  • Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department – This program will supplement the Breast & Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP) Wrap-Around and will make breast diagnostic and screening services available to low-income, uninsured and under-insured applicants in need in Southwest Michigan throughout the year. This project will ensure access is available for those who are caught in the changing healthcare system without adequate resources, including women under 40.
  • Lakeland Health Foundations – This program will provide breast screening, diagnostic services, and transportation to those currently under-served in Berrien, Cass and VanBuren Counties. This includes 100 free breast screening or diagnostic services to under-insured and uninsured women below the age of 65 living at or below the poverty level. The team will also screen eligible participants and encourage and assist those without insurance to apply through ACA, HMP, or BCCCP, as appropriate.
  • Mercy Health Saint Mary’s – The Breast Education & Screening Grant is a program providing breast health education to the low income and under-served individuals in West Michigan. Services include no cost clinical breast exams, breast imaging & biopsies (if medically necessary), and assessment in RiskPlus™, a program that follows a mammogram with a lifetime risk assessment for breast cancer.
  • Saint Joseph Mercy Health System – The Breast Friends Forever = Life (BFFL) Program will provide targeted nurse navigation and personalized education leading to mammograms for up to 300 women in Washtenaw and Livingston Counties. Komen Michigan funds will pay for up to150 of these mammograms and other philanthropic organizations, along with State of Michigan programs, will support the remainder.
  • Spectrum Health
    • Betty Ford Breast Care Services – This program will provide screening and diagnostic services for low income, uninsured or under-insured, patients who have a screening mammogram that results in a suspicious finding. Those who qualify for state or federal programs will be connected with enrollment specialists. This includes a focus on women under the age of 40 and African Americans living in Montcalm, Newaygo, Ottawa and Muskegon counties.
    • High Risk Breast Health Navigation Program – Covering Spectrum’s full Michigan footprint, this program plans to serve 693 uninsured or under-insured patients in West Michigan over the next 2 years (from May 1, 2015 through April 30, 2017). The program has many different facets including the rollout of four breast health-specific outreach events; creation of a process for identifying patients with access barriers; coordination of services with the existing Breast Cancer High Risk Clinic; and delivery of patient education regarding the diagnostic process, including biopsies and treatment.  Eligible patients that receive an abnormal screening result will receive information regarding financial and community resources, help with appropriate referrals, coordination of appointments for diagnostic testing with a goal of “same day” appointments and biopsy results within one business day.  Additionally, the funds will be used to hire and train staff to provide emotional support that is sensitive to cultural differences and includes culturally-competent educational materials and translation services.
  • West Michigan Cancer Center
    • Pink Saturdays Survivorship Program – The long-standing Pink Saturdays coalition will launch a survivor program this year. The program will serve four primary goals: 1) Serve 150 breast cancer survivors with clinic visits that result in a personalized survivorship plan, a psychosocial care plan, and a treatment summary for each survivor; 2) Develop and implement a care coordination strategy for survivors that is agreed to by the Pink Saturdays coalition partners; 3) Hold a premier breast health survivorship event attended by 300 Southwest Michigan breast cancer survivors in October 2015 and arrange for the event to be simultaneously broadcast at sites throughout the region; and 4) Develop semi-permanent teaching materials to be used by all coalition members.
    • The Pink Saturdays’ Awareness Campaign – Serving as a connecting resource for the Pink Saturdays Coalition, the organization will conduct a comprehensive breast health awareness campaign in October 2015. The primary goal is to address socioeconomic health disparities in breast health/cancer. Women throughout the eight county Southwest Michigan territory will be engaged in culturally sensitive breast health education, assisted with referrals to the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP) and Health Michigan Plan (HMP).
  • YMCA of Metropolitan Lansing – The “Turning Point Program” is a healthy lifestyle program which targets at-risk breast cancer patients and survivors with physical, social and emotional health so as to reduce the side effects of treatment and to improve their long-term quality of life. It targets those unable to pay for services in four of the seven counties in Komen Michigan’s Mid-Michigan service area. It does so through partnerships with three organizations: Jackson YMCA, Al!ive, and the Christo Rey Community Center.

“There are a number of reasons we were able to fully fund the grant slate this year,” noted Jurgens.  “In addition to the operational efficiencies and reduction in expenses from our recent merger, the demand for funds was lower than usual.  Our research shows that this is a short term phenomenon, created by the uncertainties in healthcare coverage throughout the rollout of the ACA and HMP.  As our healthcare partners learn more about the federal and state programs and more people enroll, the gap in breast health services continues to shift.  We see 2015 as a capacity-building year for our partners and grantees and expect more will be needed in 2016 to accommodate the emerging field of patient navigation.”

“When people Race for the Cure this year, they are funding local programs that save lives next year” added Carol Perschbacher, Komen Michigan board president and breast cancer survivor. “Our Mid-Michigan Race is tracking about 10% behind where is was last year and it is imperative that people understand the connection between participating in our events and the programs that women count on for breast health.  When you Race for the Cure or attend or host a fundraiser for Komen Michigan, you fund local programs aimed at early detection and national, leading edge research that is working toward a cure.  These cures won’t just be found, they will be earned through sweat and dedication and support with laughter and tears. And because of those willing to stick it out by sticking together!”

Individuals that have questions about breast health or need help accessing services can direct their inquiries to Komen Michigan by calling 616-752-826 or emailing