Recognizing Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month with Go to Know

Cassidy Tarullo

March 29, 2022

Colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable and treatable types of cancer, yet is the second leading cause of cancer death in men and women combined in the United States. Black Americans have the highest incidence and mortality rates, with death rates 40% higher than other racial or ethnic groups. Disparities in cancer rates can often be attributed to barriers to cancer prevention, detection, and treatment, all of which can be connected to systemic racial disparities in factors such as social determinants of health.

To combat this disparity, WURD Radio, Independence Blue Cross, the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, Penn Medicine, and LabCorp, partnered to launch, “Go to Know” in March 2021. Facilitated by HCIF, the goal of this initiative was to improve colorectal cancer screening rates among African Americans in Philadelphia. Screening is the most effective way to prevent or detect early stages of colorectal cancer, when it is most treatable. Through Go to Know, colorectal cancer screening FIT kits were distributed to WURD’s Radio audience. The FIT test is a simple and effective at-home stool-based test that can detect blood in the stool, an early indicator of colorectal cancer.

The Go to Know initiative was promoted by WURD through on-air interviews with physician experts, discussions by radio hosts with colorectal cancer survivors, social media campaigns, and other in-person promotional events, such as WURD’s Founder’s Day. The WURD website led listeners to a Colorectal Cancer Alliance patient navigator, who then assessed individuals’ risk of cancer and answered questions about the screening process. LabCorp distributed the kits to those who were deemed appropriate, and also managed the processing of any returned kits and securely sending results to providers. Any individual deemed high-risk or who received a positive FIT Kit result was referred to Penn Medicine for a colonoscopy.

During a six-month period:  

  • 145 FIT Kits were distributed, and 47 FIT Kits were completed and returned to LabCorp.
  • 11 symptomatic individuals were routed to medical consult, and 1 follow-up colonoscopy was completed due to being identified as high-risk.
  • Tens of thousands of individuals were reached and educated about the importance of colorectal cancer screening as a result of the campaign.

These results were achieved during the height of the COVID pandemic and thus we anticipate that future programs may have even more impactful outcomes. This program illustrates the power of innovative collaborations to save lives and reduce disparities in cancer screening and serves as a model for future prevention initiatives.

Health Care Improvement Foundation Supports Collaborative Efforts in Philadelphia to Address Diabetes

Multi-stakeholder collaboration provides the foundation for transformative initiatives to improve diabetes prevention, care, and management.

November 12, 2020

PHILADELPHIA — November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, a time when communities across the country team up to bring attention to diabetes. Health Care Improvement Foundation (HCIF) is supporting multiple collaborative initiatives aimed at addressing diabetes in Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Novo Nordisk’s Cities Changing Diabetes, and The Philadelphia Diabetes Prevention Collaborative funded by the American Medical Association and led by the Jefferson College of Population Health (JCPH).

Since 2019, HCIF has lent expertise in project management, facilitation, evaluation, and stakeholder engagement as a local backbone organization for Cities Changing Diabetes – Philadelphia. This global program, sponsored by Novo Nordisk, helps cities around the world understand their unique diabetes challenges, identify areas and populations at greatest risk, and design and implement targeted solutions. In 2020, Cities Changing Diabetes – Philadelphia launched the Innovation Challenge, inviting stakeholders to compete for preliminary funding to implement new ideas for improving diabetes prevention, care, and management. Proposal development is underway, and the top five ideas will be announced in early 2021.

The Philadelphia Diabetes Prevention Collaborative (PDPC) promotes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Diabetes Prevention Program, a lifestyle-modification program launched in 2010 to address the increasing burden of type 2 diabetes. The PDPC brings together stakeholders from community-based organizations, academic health systems, providers, payers and local employers focused on disease prevention and health-promotion activities. The collaborative’s focus is twofold: educate providers and patients about effective lifestyle change programs, and ensure that interested participants have access to classes, which have continued virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Research has shown that Diabetes Prevention Program participants can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent (and 71 percent for people over 60 years of age). 

The need for targeted programs addressing diabetes in Philadelphia stems from the city’s standing as the poorest of America’s 10 largest cities and its ranking at the bottom of the commonwealth’s 67 counties in terms of health outcomes. Equitable access to preventive services and quality care is a priority for both initiatives. This has become particularly important in 2020, as diabetes and racial disparities in healthcare are risk factors for COVID-19.

For more information about HCIF’s diabetes initiatives, please contact Project Coordinator Jibreel Oliver,  

How HCIF is Celebrating Community Health Improvement Week June 2-8, 2019

June 4, 2019

The Health Care Improvement Foundation (HCIF) is celebrating Community Health Improvement Week from June 2nd through June 8th along with the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Association for Community Health Improvement. This national event recognizes the critical role played by hospitals, health systems, and communities in improving health and well-being. Community Health Improvement Week aims to inspire hospitals to both acknowledge and share the ways in which they are contributing to patient and community health advancement.

To help with the development of community and population health measures, the AHA has released a digital toolkit, a compilation of such resources as blogs, webinars, podcasts, graphics, and guides.

HCIF supports advancements in community health through several population health projects, including Collaborative Opportunities to Advance Community Health (COACH), a regional collaborative Community Health Needs Assessment, and health literacy initiatives.

  • COACH brings local nonprofit health systems together alongside community-based partners to address social determinants of health. To date, this collaborative has focused on addressing food insecurity by screening patients and referring them to community-based resources that provide services such as direct food assistance, benefits connection, and nutrition education.
  • This year, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and HCIF led local nonprofit hospitals in a collaborative Community Health Needs Assessment process for the first time. The collaborative process reduces participation burden for local communities and lays groundwork for coordinated efforts to address priority needs that emerge from the assessment.
  • HCIF’s health literacy initiatives focus on improving patient-provider communication to achieve better health. While these initiatives seek to address health literacy challenges broadly, specific attention is paid to seniors, immigrants, and refugees through partnerships with community organizations that serve those groups.

Click here to learn more about HCIF’s population and community health initiatives.

Join us in Harrisburg on May 14 & 15 for the 2019 Pennsylvania Health Literacy Coalition Meeting!

Multiple trainings are available, and participants may selectively attend the training(s) of interest to them. All events and trainings listed below will be held at the Crowne Plaza Harrisburg-Hershey, 23 South Second Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101. Click the links below to register.

Download a printable flyer to share with colleagues

Communicating to Connect | Tuesday, May 14, 2019, 10:00am – 12:30pm

Drawing from the the American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation’s Health Literacy Train-the-Trainer program, this training program provides an overview of health literacy and its impact on health outcomes, plus tips for patient interaction and communication through plain language and teach back. This content has previously been offered as the first section of a full-day provider training.

Materials Design and Review | Tuesday, May 14, 2019, 1:30pm – 4:30pm

Learn best practices for integrating health literacy into the design and review of written resources, and practice your skills on existing patient education materials.

Tools for Establishing a Culture of Health Literate Care | Tuesday, May 14, 2019, 1:30pm – 3:30pm

From organizational assessment to implementation, this session introduces a set of resources for integrating the Ten Attributes of a Health Literate Organization into your institution.

2019 Pennsylvania Health Literacy Coalition Meeting | Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 8:30am – 12:00pm

Join health literacy champions across the Commonwealth at our fifth annual gathering, featuring a keynote address from Janet Ohene-Frempong, MS, Strategic Partner – Health Literacy, Institute for Healthcare Advancement.

Principles of Motivational Interviewing | Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 1:00pm-4:00pm

Participants will learn the foundational principles behind using motivational interviewing (MI) to communicate with clients/patients and practice using techniques and skills of MI.

Advancing Language Access and Working with Interpreters | Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 1:00pm-4:00pm

Learn more about policy requirements for serving populations with limited English proficiency, working effectively with interpreters, and integrating language access into the workplace workflow.

September is Hunger Action Month: See what COACH organizations are doing to ensure food access.

September 17, 2018

An estimated one in four people in Philadelphia experience food insecurity, or an inability to consistently access sufficient nutritious food. September is Hunger Action Month, but anti-hunger organizations in Philadelphia work year-round to ensure our communities have access to the food they need. Many of these local anti-hunger organizations participate in the COACH (Collaborative Opportunities to Advance Community Health) initiative. COACH is a collaborative sponsored by the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania and facilitated by the Health Care Improvement Foundation. Visit the websites of these COACH partners to learn more about their work or to get involved locally:

Hospitals and health systems who are members of COACH have also taken up the mantle to combat food insecurity. Health systems screen patients for food insecurity and refer those in need to food resources as part of the collaborative’s Healthy Food Access Pilot. But efforts to ensure food access go beyond clinical screening and intervention efforts. Many health systems have established in-house programming to help patients and communities access nutritious food, such as community gardens, on-site farmer’s markets, food pantries, and nutrition education classes. These programs are often the product of robust partnerships between health systems and community-based anti-hunger organizations. Some examples of these programs are shown in the infographic below, but this list isn’t comprehensive: it provides just a glimpse into the work that COACH partners undertake, together, to ensure food access for the communities they serve.

Click to view infographic