When a CAP member applies for a CAP Foundation grant to hold a See, Test & Treat program, he or she is signing up to manage a public health event.
“The lead pathologist is central to the role of coordinating the support of all key stakeholders at Cambridge Health Alliance,” said Rebecca A. Osgood, MD, FCAP. At the CHA program, it was Dr. Osgood’s job to coordinate all organizational meetings, secure an event coordinator, coordinate donations, and work with CHA’s Marketing Department to publicize the event.
Despite the effort required, See, Test & Treat was something that Dr. Osgood, CHA chief of pathology, knew she wanted her institution to get involved with. As a member of the Cambridge community for over 30 years, she wanted to bring a program to the area that would address the prevalent disparities in access to health care.
“CHA’s large, low-income, diverse patient population exhibits many well-documented barriers to cancer care, such as language, lack of childcare, transportation difficulties, and getting time off from work,” said Dr. Osgood. “I wanted to use the See, Test & Treat program to address some of these issues.”
See, Test & Treat removes these barriers and allows attendees to be screened for breast and cervical cancer, get their test results, and schedule follow-up care, if needed, all on the same day. In addition to the normal screenings, the CHA event included mindfulness guidance and Reiki to provide support for women waiting for their results, a children’s activity area filled with 15 children, and a health fair.
“More than 100 volunteers came together to provide Pap tests, breast exams, mammograms, HPV testing, and more for underserved women in our community,” said Dr. Osgood. “The most important piece of all of the free care that we provided is that it possibly saved several women’s lives.”
Of the 53 women who attended, four had abnormal Pap results—they were immediately referred for follow-up care—and several women’s mammograms indicated a need to return for additional screening.
“Reaching these women is the reason everyone put a Herculean effort into organizing this event,” said Dr. Osgood. “I can’t thank everyone enough for all they did to make See, Test & Treat run so smoothly.”
In thanking her team at CHA, Dr. Osgood is, in essence, thanking the hundreds of volunteers around the country. See, Test & Treat wouldn’t be possible without a strong leader and dedicated supporters.