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“Prevention efforts present our best opportunity for immediate results,” he

said. Mr. Roberts added the organization plans to focus on prevention for popu- lations in which significant disparities in cancer incidence and mortality exist. Last year, in addition to continuing and expanding the grant for colorectal

cancer screening and prevention, CPRIT awarded Texas A&M another grant to train family medicine residents and nursing students to screen for breast and cervical cancer. Dr. McClellan says though the program is still new, it has al- ready identified one breast cancer case. “A grant like this that allows us to do good clinical work and help the citizens in our region is helpful on a number of fronts,” he said. CPRIT grant recipients must submit quarterly and annual reports to the in-

stitute that outline spending line by line. Grantees collect data that can lead to scientific publication, allowing others in Texas and around the nation to learn from the projects’ best practices and outcomes. Jane Bolin, PhD, interim department chair and professor of Health Policy and

Management at the Texas A&M School of Public Health, is principal investigator for both grants. She handles community outreach to let patients know about the free screenings, and she reports back to CPRIT with results showing how the grants have helped improve access to care. She says in the three years since C-STEP was created, Texas A&M residents

have performed 1,155 colonoscopies, removed precancerous polyps in 27 percent of those cases, and diagnosed 11 cases of colorectal cancer. Medicaid often cov- ers cancer treatment for the uninsured, but, Dr. Bolin said, “income eligibility for Medicaid insurance in Texas is more difficult to meet than in some other states. Consequently, many individuals who are low-income and who should be screened do not qualify. This is especially true for adult men between the ages of 50 and 65.” While CPRIT funds don’t cover cancer treatment for patients, the institute

will pay for navigation services, also known as case management. CPRIT-funded navigation services help patients determine whether they qualify for Medicare, Medicaid, or the Texas Breast and Cervical Cancer Services program. In the first nine months of the new breast and cervical cancer screening grant,

Texas A&M performed more than 100 Pap tests, clinical breast exams, and mam- mograms, Dr. Bolin says. In addition, family medicine residents performed 15 colposcopies when a Pap test resulted in abnormal findings, one removal of a le- sion from the cervix, nine breast ultrasounds, and four breast biopsies, she says. “This is all being done in the context of training family medicine doctors,” Dr.

Bolin said. “The majority of them will stay in Texas, practice in smaller areas. These types of skills are important.” Dr. Bolin says the program recently ex- panded to include a 10-county region — all in underserved areas, where many patients live in poverty. “The CPRIT grant has been a real blessing,” she said. “It’s basically training

the next generation of family physicians.” Dr. McClellan says only about half the people who should see a doctor for a

colorectal cancer screening actually get a colonoscopy. “We’re making a dent in that 50 percent of the population that wouldn’t otherwise be getting screened,” he said. The training program is not an effort to cut into the business of gastrointes-

tinal (GI) specialists, but rather a chance to teach future rural family physicians a new skill set, he says. “We very much appreciate our GI colleagues,” he said. But, he added, “Well-

trained family physicians can do a lot of care that is somewhat specialized.” In rural communities, he says, patients often put a lot of trust in their local physician and are more likely to go to him or her than travel to a more metro-

March 2015 TEXAS MEDICINE 23


817 grants awarded since 2010

$1,149,249,373 total amount awarded

83 recipients



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