207774 Tackling colorectal cancer disparities: Creating and funding the Louisiana FIT Colon Program

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 4:45 PM

Rebecca Lynn Majdoch, MPH , Health Initiatives Department, American Cancer Society, Mid-South Division, Inc., New Orleans, LA
Donna Lisa Williams, MS, MPH, DrPH , School of Public Health, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA
Andrew Muhl , Government Relations Department, American Cancer Society, Mid-South Division, Inc., Baton Rouge, LA
Colleen T. Ryan, MPH , School of Public Health, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA
Introduction: Louisiana ranks second in the nation for colorectal cancer mortality partially attributable to late stage diagnosis of the disease and high numbers of uninsured and underinsured residents. The American Cancer Society, Louisiana Comprehensive Cancer Control Program and Louisiana Primary Care Association convened colorectal cancer (CRC) task force of organizations and volunteers to develop a three-year plan for a screening pilot and an advocacy plan to ensure funding. Methods: The CRC Task Force formed after an unsuccessful attempt to fund a CRC screening program for the underserved in 2007. Invested partners and supportive legislators were convened to discuss barriers and opportunities to funding a screening project. An action plan resulted in tasks being divided among advocacy and planning workgroups. A comprehensive three-year plan, modeled after the Louisiana Breast and Cervical Health Program, was constructed. Legislators were identified from key committees/caucuses to ensure inclusion and passage of program funding. Discussion: To produce a sustainable program that addressed health disparities, the planning workgroup's program incorporated capacity-building, screening, diagnostics, support services, and administration. These areas included infrastructure, provider training, screening with the Fecal Immunochemical Test, diagnostic/treatment colonoscopies, case management and navigation, data management, evaluation, fiscal administration, and program management. The advocacy group used this plan and a projection of cost-savings to secure legislative support. Conclusion: As a result of a comprehensive, well-planned approach to this advocacy effort, the Louisiana Legislature funded the Louisiana FIT Colon program with 1.5 million dollars for year one. This approach can be used for other chronic disease initiatives.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the steps to engage legislative support for a chronic disease initiative. 2. Understand the role of an advocacy group. 3. Recognize the important information to convey to garner legislative support for a chronic disease initiative.

Keywords: Access to Health Care, Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was a member of the Colorectal Cancer Task Force and convened the planning workgroup. In my role with the American Cancer Society, I have worked to plan our local health initiatives with field staff annually and worked with partners to plan for cancer control initiatives for Louisiana and the Mid-South Division.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.