Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center will use a $2 million grant to purchase and operate a mobile medical clinic that will provide free cancer screenings and related services for uninsured and underinsured residents in southeast Louisiana parishes.
The grant was made by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.
Mary Bird Perkins will begin operating the mobile clinic early next year in Terrebonne, LaFourche, St. Mary and St. Tammany parishes, where death rates from cancer among vulnerable populations are higher than the state average, officials said.
Mary Bird Perkins already operates one mobile clinic that travels throughout its 18-parish service area.
“The fight against cancer starts on the front end,” said Renea Duffin, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center’s vice president, cancer support and outreach. “Offering more free screenings to at-risk populations is a driving force behind Mary Bird’s mission to improve survivorship and lessen the burden of cancer.”
In a recent report on survivorship, The Centers for Disease Control cited early detection among the reasons why nearly 12 million Americans have been classified as cancer survivors.
The BRAF grant will provide up to $750,000 to purchase the second unit and $1.25 million to operate it for five years.
The rolling clinic will help support Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center’s mission at Terrebonne General Medical Center in Houma and Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center at St. Tammany Parish Hospital in Covington.
The clinic will have three exam rooms and provide services at convenient times and locations, such as on weekday evenings and on weekends. Services include cancer screenings for breast, prostate, skin, oral and colorectal cancers. The latter involves distribution of and education on easy-to-use, take-home kits.
Operating funds will pay for a full-time early detection and education specialist, patient navigator and outreach coordinator.
Since beginning a mobile screening outreach program six years ago, Mary Bird Perkins and its partners have screened more than 45,000 people.
That was made possible solely by support from donors, corporations and grantors, officials said.
BRAF provided the grant from its Fund For the Future of the Gulf, which is a flexible fund established following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010 and funded by BP.
Under the act of donation, the fund first assisted members of the deepwater drilling industry who suffered economic hardship as a result of the federal moratorium on drilling and now is addressing long-term issues affecting people, wildlife and the environment.
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is a regional cancer care organization in business for more than 40 years. Its service area encompasses 18 parishes across southeast Louisiana, with centers in Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond, Houma and Gonzales.