MCC 2009 Spirit of Collaboration Honorable Mention Award Winner
Men's Health Initiative
About the Initiative The Men’s Health Initiative partners are each health care providers who provide general medical care to the underinsured and uninsured in targeted zip codes or demonstrate that a significant number of the uninsured men seen in the clinic reside in the targeted zip codes.
Building on Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute's 60-year history of education and outreach, the Men’s Health Initiative coordinated services for uninsured and uninsured men. Those included complete health physicals with prostate cancer screening for men 40-64 years old. Karmanos included a follow-up program for men with abnormal prostate screenings to ensure additional tests and/or treatments would be accessible. Karmanos urologists provided free follow-up care to anyone with abnormal results. The partners provided an important connection to primary care providers for many men who had no existing provider.
Education and awareness was a significant component to increase awareness of cancer risks, symptoms, screening, and more. Educational programs focused on cancers with the highest incidence and mortality rates for men: prostate, lung and pancreatic. Program components included prevention, signs, and symptoms for all three cancers and information on screening for prostate cancer. Small businesses frequented by men (barbershops, hardware stores, union halls, churches, and other community organizations) were additional places of literature distribution and presentations.
Volunteer educators helped to reach the target audience and disseminated information. Karmanos provided at least four trained volunteers who were survivors of prostate, lung, or pancreatic cancer or who had been regularly screened for prostate cancer. These trained volunteers understood the basics of prostate, lung and pancreatic cancers and had a knowledge of cancer incidence/mortality, prostate anatomy, screening guidelines and tests, risk reduction, reducing barriers, and communications skills. Volunteers also engaged the community by visiting businesses and staffing educational displays.
Impetus for the Collaboration Among the highest causes of cancer deaths in the United States and Michigan are: #1 lung, #2 prostate, and #4 pancreatic cancers. The Michigan Department of Community Health (2007) reports that men in Wayne County and the City of Detroit have higher incidence and mortality rates of lung, prostate and pancreatic cancers when compared to the entire state of Michigan.
Karmanos’ Department of Community Education proposed this collaborative program for Detroit because it treats low-income patients every day. The Institute's physicians and staff know first-hand the need to be proactive with outreach and education to increase awareness and access to screening in Detroit where people live and work.
Until the Men’s Health Initiative, there was no program in Michigan addressing the cancer screening needs of men on an ongoing basis. In addition, there were no programs in which a comprehensive cancer center sought to collaborate with health providers that provide services to the uninsured to not only provide cancer screenings, but to also link men to health care services that can meet their other health needs, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, and general health maintenance.
The lack of prostate cancer screening for the uninsured, lack of pancreatic awareness, and lack of free smoking cessation services are part of the cause of these cancer health disparities. Additional causes include lack of awareness/knowledge concerning the recommended cancer screenings for men, and a lack of awareness of health care providers that service the uninsured for prostate cancer screening follow-up and smoking cessation services. Unfortunately, there are no screening recommendations for pancreatic cancer, thus adding to the disparity. Some men also face cultural and linguistic challenges to accessing even basic health care services.
Results These organizations came together to focus on men’s health and the need for primary care in order to address cancer health and other health disparities faced by African-American men. The organizations planned outreach efforts in Detroit zip codes with high prostate cancer mortality.
Eight educational sessions and eight health fairs were held throughout the year in Detroit. Coupons for free prostate examinations and prostate specific antigen testing were distributed during these events, and a follow-up program for men with abnormal prostate screenings was included to ensure additional tests and/or treatments would be accessible. Men who were unable to attend the events were encouraged to call Detroit Health Connection for free PSA and DRE tests. Each project partner came to the table with staff, funding, in-kind donations, etc.
Thirty-two men received prostate cancer screening exams. Other services received were blood pressure, blood glucose testing, cholesterol massages, and a healthy food demonstration. Speakers attending the events included Karmanos urologist Dr. Issac Powell and Dr. James Blessman of Wayne State University, medical director of the Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion.
Lessons Learned Collaboration is possible when time is given to build the working relationships of everyone involved and understand what is the overall desired outcome and how each organization contributes to the overall goal.
"Men's Health Initiative"received the Michigan Cancer Consortium’s 2009 Spirit of Collaboration Honorable Mention Award. The annual award is presented to member organizations that have done outstanding collaborative work to significantly move comprehensive cancer control activities forward in Michigan.