Teresa Argenbright Wordsmith

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Professional Pieces & Personal Musings 

Professional/Medical - Grant request excerpt to the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas

Excerpt from a medical services grant application to the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) on behalf of UT Southwestern/Moncrief Cancer Institute. As a result of this request, the Moncrief Cancer Institute Breast Screening and Patient Navigation (BSPAN) program was awarded $999,000 over a two-year period, beginning in 2010.


Tarrant County and five of its surrounding counties (Denton, Wise, Parker, Hood and Johnson) are in Texas’ Health Service Region (HSR) 03. This HSR has a higher incidence of invasive breast cancer than any other part of the state. BSPAN is a proven program in Tarrant County, and now is the time to expand it to its rural, underserved neighbors. Mammography rates in these five targeted counties are suboptimal, due in part to lack of access. BSPAN has been designed according to the guidelines issued in the 2005 Texas Cancer Plan: it removes geographic and financial barriers and employs active patient navigation in a disciplined, consistent and reproducible method. BSPAN’s proven approach is to work with local community leaders and health care providers to increase access to breast cancer screening, diagnostic mammograms, and biopsies. BSPAN provides screening mammograms as well as diagnostic services for women with abnormal screens; in addition, it fills the critical diagnostic gap for women who have breast symptoms and are therefore clinically ineligible for breast cancer screening. BSPAN uses multiple funding sources, and will aggressively pursue a new contracting relationship with the CDC-funded Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening (BCCS) program, a federal funding source that historically has been underutilized in Texas. BSPAN will leverage two years of CPRIT funding to create a sustainable breast health program that will establish BCCS sites in counties currently without this program, use mobile vans to supplement current free-standing screening locations, reduce time from initial abnormal presentation to clinical diagnosis through culturally appropriate patient navigation, and find more breast cancers at their early, most curable stage. As a BCCS provider, BSPAN will employ services of social workers and financial counselors to expedite Medicaid coverage for women found to have breast cancer. Those who require treatment but are ineligible for Medicaid will be referred to The Bridge Network – a North Texas organization operating in BSPAN’s target counties as a treatment safety net. The BSPAN electronic medical record is built on a custom, scalable platform and database that tracks and documents every step of the patient navigation process – from asymptomatic screening to clinical staging of cancer, enabling real-time statistical reporting and analysis. This CPRIT application describes four specific aims, the calculation of the baseline measurement of each aim, and the measurement methods that will be employed during the two-year funding cycle to measure our success. 

Teresa Argenbright