Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation donates $250,000 to WVU Cancer Center

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation has awarded the West Virginia University Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center $250,000 to build on achievements aimed at making breast cancer screening and treatment more accessible to women across West Virginia.

The Benedum grant will support three projects that will continue statewide education about breast cancer screening, strengthen a statewide clinical trials network, and evaluate Bonnie’s Bus, a statewide mobile mammography program.

“The Bonnie’s Bus Mobile Mammography Program and funded projects are a direct result of the extraordinary teamwork among WVU researchers and project personnel,” said Susan Faulkner, associate director for research development at the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, and author of the Benedum grant.

The Working in West Virginia Communities Project seeks to engage community groups, local hospitals and healthcare providers, to further educate women about the need for breast cancer screening and provide services.  The focus will be on reaching women 40 and older in the counties with the highest breast cancer mortality rates.  The Cancer Center will also strengthen linkages to state partners and cancer organizations around the state to build upon existing infrastructure and maximize outreach and education resources.  The project has an internet component.  A Bonnie’s Bus Facebook site will be created to promote breast education and cancer screening and garner real-time information from West Virginia women.

A second project – Community Clinical Trials Projects – will assist West Virginia communities in promoting clinical trials. The Cancer Center will partner with the West Virginia Clinical Trials Network, established by the West Virginia Oncology Society, Mountains of Hope Cancer Coalition, American Cancer Society and other appropriate organizations to develop clinical trials education materials specifically for rural West Virginia.  These educational materials will be used to conduct statewide training sessions for community representatives to introduce the concept of clinical trials into their communities. Three communities per year will be selected to receive funding to implement their specific education and awareness plan.

Evaluating the Impact of Bonnie’s Bus Mobile Mammography Program on Breast Cancer Care Screening in West Virginia, the third project, will determine the impact of the bus program on reaching rural, under- and uninsured women in West Virginia. Surveys will be used to collect data from women who get mammograms on Bonnie’s Bus, and from those who get them at the WVU Betty Puskar Breast Care Center in Morgantown. Feedback collected from the survey will be used to improve the quality of Bonnie’s Bus service and determine ways to increase screening rates.

Amy Reasinger Allen, assistant director for Cancer Prevention and Control, leads the communities/state partners project; James Keresztury, an associate director for Cancer Prevention and Control, leads the clinical trials project; and Suresh Madhavan, Ph.D., chair of Pharmaceutical Systems and Policy, leads the evaluation project.

“Our first year on the road with Bonnie’s Bus was a big success thanks to our many partners and friends across the state who are committed to reaching women who may have limited access to life-saving early detection,” Scot C. Remick, M.D., director of the Cancer Center, said.  “Since its inaugural visit to Blacksville last April, the mobile digital mammography unit has travelled 9000 miles, visited 20 counties during 30 site visits, and provided nearly 400 mammography screenings.”

Remick said of the 400 women screened, more than 50 had suspicious mammograms and were referred to their local physicians for further diagnostic imaging.

The Benedum Foundation awarded the Cancer Center a two-year $400,000 grant to support the roll out of the bus in 2009. The bus was made possible by the generosity of Monongalia County natives Jo and Ben Statler, who wanted to ensure that women in rural West Virginia have access to mammography screening.

The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation is an independent foundation established in 1944 by Michael and Sarah Benedum, natives respectively of Bridgeport and Blacksville, West Virginia.  The Foundation’s assets at year-end 2009 were just over $341 million.  Since its inception in 1944, the Foundation has made over 7,300 grants totaling more than $367 million.

For more information about the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, see www.wvucancer.org.




For more information:
Kim Fetty, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
kf: 04-23-10

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