Presence Saint Francis Hospital is launching the S&C Electric Company Community Health Program, a new effort to increase awareness of cancer risk factors. This new effort is being funded by a $300,000 gift from the S&C Foundation in Chicago.

During the first two years of the program, Presence Saint Francis Hospital will focus on preventing colon cancer. Based on the need identified by a four-year study, the goal is to lower the age of initial screening and detection, thereby increasing the chances of early-stage diagnosis and survival.

“No one else is doing this type of targeted outreach that combines awareness and education with screenings and incentives,” said Angelique Richard, RN, PhD, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at Presence Saint Francis Hospital. “Our hope is to diagnose and treat the many treatable cancers that are on the rise in the communities we serve, particularly among the Latino and African American populations,” she added.

A key component to this new program will be an oncology nurse navigator at Presence Saint Francis Hospital. This person will provide education about risk factors and the benefits of early screenings, arrange transportation and support to ensure compliance with recommendations for screenings, and provide information on financial assistance to help patients pay for screenings and follow-up care as needed.

By increasing compliance rates, providing individualized support in the form of a nurse navigator and educating the community at large, Presence Saint Francis Hospital plans to partner with primary-care physicians to encourage referral of patients who fit the follow-ing high-risk criteria: age, race, family medical history, low-income and uninsured or underinsured.