Jun 24

Colorectal Cancer Alliance Partners with Blake Gastroenterology Associates, LLC, Gaudenzia Addiction Treatment & Recovery Services, and Penn Medicine

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance’s (Alliance) 45+ Reasons, a campaign to get more than 5,000 Black Philadelphians ages 45-75 screened for colorectal cancer to reduce their significantly higher mortality, is partnering with Blake Gastroenterology Associates, LLC, Gaudenzia Addiction Treatment & Recovery Services, and the Penn Medicine Population Health team to expand the campaign’s reach in neighborhoods across Philadelphia.

“We’re excited to broaden the 45+ Reasons campaign reach within the community through partnerships with prominent healthcare partners who can meet individuals where they are,” said Kimberly McNeil, prevention project director at the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. “The Alliance is partnering with these organizations and health care providers to ensure more Philadelphians get screened and have access to expert navigators who can facilitate the next level of care, whether it is getting an at home test to check for hidden blood in the stool or finding the right provider for a colonoscopy.”

The Alliance’s 45+ Reasons, campaign is part of the Cycles of Impact initiative launched and supported by Independence Blue Cross in 2022 to address this urgent public health issue among the Black population.

Each of the partnerships will maximize the impact of the campaign.

Dr. J. Steven Blake, president and CEO of Blake Gastroenterology Associates, LLC, is one of the Philadelphia region’s leading private gastroenterologists who offers fast access and affordable care. Dr. Blake is also a colon cancer survivor, who has turned his passion into his life mission. “As a gastroenterologist, who is screened every 3 years for colon cancer, due to family history, I was shocked when I was diagnosed with colon cancer, less than 2 years after having my colonoscopy. I am fortunate, my cancer was caught early, and I am here today to be able to save others’ lives through my work and sharing my personal story,” said Dr. Blake. “My practice prioritizes serving underserved and uninsured populations in greater Philadelphia. My partnership with Colorectal Cancer Alliance’s 45+ Reasons will allow me to connect more Philadelphians with needed services to prevent and battle colorectal cancer.”

Gaudenzia Addiction Treatment & Recovery Services is a comprehensive treatment facility with 14 locations in Philadelphia, as well as locations throughout the nation, that provide support to those recovering from substance abuse, co-occurring mental health disorders, and related conditions, regardless of their financial circumstances. The Colorectal Cancer Alliance’s Philadelphia partnership will provide colorectal cancer education and FIT kits to patients on a weekly basis at some of Gaudenzia’s locations within Philadelphia.

The Penn Medicine Population Health team and the Alliance’s partnership will allow for high-touch navigation to over 500 patients per quarter. Each year more than 6,000 patients are identified as appropriate for receiving a FIT kit by their Penn Medicine Primary Care Physician (PCP). Once they receive their kit, they have access to health navigation services for 35 days. Through this partnership with the Alliance’s 45+ Reasons, when the 35 days are over, Population Health navigators will continue to provide telephone reminders and navigation to help patients overcome barriers to completing the FIT kit.

Colorectal cancer is an urgent public health issue among the Black population as recent American Cancer Society data show that Black Americans are 15% more likely to develop colorectal cancer and 35% more likely to die from the disease. Colorectal cancer is one of the most deadly cancers in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute.

The Alliance is also holding events throughout Philadelphia to drive awareness and education about colorectal cancer screening:

  • Real Men Real Talk, Thursday, July 25th, 2024, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at Gaudenzia House, 1306 Spring Garden St. Philadelphia, PA 19123
  • Walk to End Colon Cancer, Saturday, September 14th, 2024, 7:30 a.m. at FDR Park, 1500 Pattison Avenue &, S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19145

The campaign is also a flagship program of Philadelphia’s Accelerate Health Equitya city-wide initiative to produce tangible improvement in health inequities, and ultimately achieve measurable, positive changes in health outcomes in Philadelphia.

To learn more about 45+ Reasons or to take the screening quiz, visit https://45plusreasons.org/.


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