Avon Foundation Grant to Benefit Patient-Navigation Program

November 26, 2008

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – A $375,000 grant received as part of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer will help fund community outreach and innovative patient services at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.

The Avon Foundation, which sponsored the fourth annual walk in Charlotte on Oct. 26, made the award to North Carolina Baptist Hospital, the hospital arm of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, as part of $1,045,000 in initial grants presented to four organizations. Baptist Hospital received the largest of the four grants. Other recipients were Presbyterian Hospital, Carolinas Medical Center and the Health Research Alliance, all based in Charlotte.

At Wake Forest Baptist, the grant will help fund the Survivors in Service Navigation Network, which works to reduce disparities in breast health within the African-American community. The grant will help the program expand its services to include more patients from surrounding rural counties, and add genetic testing and counseling. Patient navigators are staff members who handle such tasks as bridging cultural and linguistic barriers, finding financial resources, tracking appointments and coordinating transportation services.

“Our Survivors in Service Navigation Network is helping to improve the patient experience at the Comprehensive Cancer Center, and this grant and others like it will help move those services to a higher level,” said John H. Stewart, M.D., assistant professor of surgery and founding director of the Tumor Immunotherapy Program at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

The navigation network is designed to eliminate barriers to timely diagnosis and treatment of cancer. It helps people receive appropriate screening examinations, and ensures that any patient with an abnormal finding receives timely diagnosis and treatment.

In October, two patient navigators from Wake Forest Baptist’s Comprehensive Cancer Center were accepted into the Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Institute and Certification Program in New York, the only certification program of its kind in the country. The training, taking place this month, provides practical, research-based information and helps the participants understand how to tailor patient navigation programs to meet their communities’ specific needs.

The Charlotte Avon Walk raised more than $2.8 million to advance access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer. The event attracted 1,350 participants from 41 states, including 108 breast cancer survivors, who joined together to raise life-saving funds and awareness for breast cancer.

“The ongoing support and generosity of the participants and the community allows us to make substantial new grants that will benefit those facing breast cancer not only in the Charlotte area, but across the region and country,” said Mark Hurlbert, senior grants advisor for the Avon Foundation.

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Media Contacts:
Medical Center: Eric Whittington, ewhittin@wfubmc.edu, (336) 716-5318 or (800) 899-7128
Avon Foundation:
Kara Silverman, kara.silverman@avonfoundation.org, (212) 282-5666

The Avon Foundation, an accredited 501(c)(3) public charity, was founded in 1955 to improve the lives of women and their families, and more than half a century later this mission is brought to life through a focus on breast cancer and domestic violence. Through 2007, Avon philanthropy has raised and awarded more than $580 million in over 50 countries worldwide. Funding supports five areas: awareness and education; screening and diagnosis; access to treatment; support services; and scientific research. Beneficiaries range from leading cancer centers to community-based nonprofit breast health programs, creating a powerful international network of research, medical, social service and community-based organizations focused on defeating breast cancer and ensuring access to care.

Media Relations