News & Updates - Fall 2018
Kraft Center Announces Recipients of Trefler Cancer Care Equity Grants

The Kraft Center, in partnership with the Trefler Foundation, is thrilled to announce the recipients of the inaugural Trefler Cancer Care Equity Grants. Three local community health centers - Charles River Community Health, Codman Square Health Center, and the Dimock Center - will each be awarded $50,000 to launch innovative projects aimed at reducing inequities in cancer care among vulnerable populations.

There are significant inequities that exist both locally and nationwide in the diagnosis, treatment, and mortality of cancer, especially among traditionally marginalized populations . These awards will enable community health centers to implement novel and sustainable strategies to eliminate barriers to cancer screening and treatment for underserved populations.The Kraft Center has funded multiple research projects aimed at reducing disparities, some examples of which can be seen here.

The Kraft Center and Trefler Foundation have worked together since 2015 to address inequities in cancer care. With support from Pam and Alan Trefler, the Kraft Center launched the Trefler Program for Cancer Equity to promote early screening, diagnosis and treatment of cancer in the most marginalized of vulnerable populations. 

"We established the Kraft Center for Community Health to make sure that everyone, regardless of their income or zip code, could have good access to medical care. These awards will help promote early detection and diagnosis of cancer in communities with modest incomes so that people in those communities are given the best chance at beating this disease," says Robert K. Kraft, chairman and CEO of The Kraft Group and Founder of The Kraft Center. "We are very happy to be partnering as a team with the Trefler Family who share our strong commitment to improving early cancer detection and with the local community health centers to support their work in this area."

"As someone who has personally benefitted from early cancer detection, these grants that will allow us to get more people in for cancer screenings and are incredibly important in our efforts to make good healthcare available to everyone no matter what your zip code may be," says Pamela Trefler, Founder and Chairperson of the Trefler Foundation.

Awardees were celebrated at the Trefler Foundation's 20th Anniversary event on Thursday, September 27 and will begin project implementation in October 2018. These grants fund one year of program development, and each awardee has developed a plan to ensure the projects are sustainable beyond the pilot funding. Below, we highlight each of their projects.
Awardee Spotlight: Charles River Community Health
Project staff at CRCH (left to right): Phyllis Gordon; Nancy Gilday, RN; Caryvette Velez; Leah Sherman-Collins; Cristina Pimentel; Maria Martinez

Charles River Community Health (CRCH) serves over 13,500 patients with locations in Brighton and Waltham, and over 40 percent of their patients are uninsured.  With pilot funding from the Trefler Cancer Care Equity Grants, CRCH plans to use a text message platform called CareMessage to promote breast and cervical cancer screening and management to Latina women, where increased barriers to care have led to lower screening rates and delayed diagnoses.
"We are honored to receive funding from Trefler Cancer Care Equity Grants Program and excited to launch our project," says Elizabeth Browne, Executive Director of Charles River Community Health.

"Current cancer screening and treatment pathways do not adequately address the social determinants of health and cultural barriers that Latino new arrivals face. Our proposed project will address barriers to care by testing text messaging as a new way to more effectively communicate with this population to encourage and assist with breast and cervical screening education and care. Our project will use patient navigation and the CareMessage text messaging platform to assist us in accomplishing this goal."
Awardee Spotlight: Codman Square Health Center
Dr. Rachel Hindin (right) discusses a fecal immunochemical test (FIT)

Codman Square Health Center (CSHC) in Dorchester, MA has seen elevated morality rates due to colorectal cancer in Black men and women.  Over 82% of CSHC's patients are Black, and 87% of their patients are below 200% of the federal poverty line.  Codman Square plans to use the CareMessage texting platform to send educational information and appointment reminders to African American men in order to increase the rate and timeliness of screening. They will combine this approach with an advertising campaign to engage and increase awareness among patients and community members about cancer screening initiatives.

"We are so grateful to the Trefler Foundation for the opportunity to use innovative tools for reducing colorectal cancer screening disparities," says Rachel Hindin, MD in Internal Medicine at the Codman Square Health Center. "We are excited to use new technology and new ways of communicating with patients."

Awardee Spotlight: Dimock Center
Project staff at Dimock Center (left to right): Ketura'h Edwards, CNP; Danielle Grimm, CNP; Brenda Gonzalez, RN;  Mercedes Reyes, MA; Rose Molina, MD; Rachel Preiss, CNP; Ana Ogando, MA 

The Dimock Center is a federal qualified health center serving over 15,000 patients per year (70% of whom are Medicaid eligible) from Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, and surrounding areas. The Dimock Center plans to bring point-of-care technology in-house to enable patients to receive cancer screening services where they would have otherwise had to refer to specialty care. With these funds, the Dimock Center will soon be able to perform gynecologic ultrasound, colposcopy, and Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure (LEEP) directly within the health center, removing barriers to care for patients who are unable or unwilling to make a separate appointment with a specialist.

"At The Dimock Center, our core mission is to heal, uplift and strengthen our continuum of care for all people," says Dr. Nandini Sengupta, Medical Director of Health Services at the Dimock Center. "The Trefler Cancer Care Equity Grants Program will help Dimock continue in this mission by enabling us to provide innovative cancer care equity and increase our capacity to provide effective cancer care prevention to our patients and families. These advancements will further mitigate the barriers for accessible cancer care health systems and patient engagement within our community."
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