Adagio Health is working to address breast and cervical cancer screening and vaccinations in Western and central Pennsylvania. They are partnering with health care providers in the service area, as well as state-level partners the Pennsylvania Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program and the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition.
The Georgia Health Policy Center recently spoke to Adagio Health’s Casey Monroe, senior director of health promotion and disease; Gabrielle Sorce, cancer screening patient navigator; Sierra Maher, care navigator in the cancer screening department; and Tracy Frank, the cancer screening program manager, about these efforts.
To date, what has been the biggest accomplishment or an early win in your Outreach program?
Tracy: Although we are pretty early in our project, one of our early successes has been meeting and exceeding our goal in survey responses for our community needs assessment. When we began the project, the consortium identified what they thought was a reasonable goal and we did exceed that.
Casey: Another early win for the Outreach program has been coalescing around the issues of COVID-19 vaccine urgency and our ability to connect with partners who had not been able to offer the vaccine in their clinics. Through this project, we will be able to bring COVID-19 vaccines to their service area. Bringing like-minded, health care providers together around this common theme and urgency to get Americans vaccinated against COVID-19 and to make boosters available has been a win.
What is a tip or early learning that you would share with an organization launching a similar program?
Gabrielle: One of the main things I would say is the importance of having strong partnerships and allowing those partners to know that you want them to be involved. Having that support behind you, will help in what you are trying to achieve.
Sierra: Along with that, I would say another tip would be is being persistent with the resources that you are trying to connect with. People might not be interested in the first email you send or the first phone call and that is OK. It is all about informing them about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Keep reaching out until you get the answers that you need.
How does your participation in the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy grant program fit into your broader health improvement efforts?
Casey: As an organization, Adagio Health is looking to eliminate health care access barriers. We serve a predominantly rural area in Pennsylvania, and we believe in the tried-and-true model of co-location of services. This concept helps to reduce travel, childcare and eldercare issues, and having to miss work to tend to health care needs. So, for us, it is a step in the right direction to address vaccine access and cancer screening access together.
Gabrielle: This approach also broadens what we are looking at and focused on in the cancer screening department. This grant will help us look at social determinants of health more clearly, which will then give us better data on the communities that we are serving.
Sierra: This is an exciting opportunity for us to build on partnerships and programs that we are already operating. This is going to allow us a deeper level of care and support for patients that are already serving in addition to helping us reach additional patients that could benefit from the program.
What will your organization being doing more of or differently to emerge stronger from the pandemic?
Sierra: In 2020, we started the mobile health unit that travels to communities, so that people can receive services there. We also have providers that participate in telehealth services, so people don’t have to go into the office for enrolling in our programs. I think those are some things we plan on keeping because they have shown to be effective.
Gabrielle: The fact that we are incorporating the COVID-19 vaccine into our project and processes at these clinics gives us a chance to open up a door to get people on track with their routine care. It helps open up a deeper conversation about other health care services.
Casey: The pandemic made our organization more agile in that we had be responsive to a lot of curve balls being thrown our way — as did everybody. We had to find a way to balance equity at our organization. We have eight medical offices and a mobile unit, as well as five WIC clinics. So while the majority of our administrative staff have been remote for the most part, since the pandemic started, our clinics are open five days a week. How do you balance equity among staff safety and find value in each person’s position? It has been a challenge, but I think it’s made us a stronger organization. As we emerge on the other side of the pandemic, the people who are here truly believe in the work that we’re doing and have helped us stay operational and helped us build and succeed over the last 18 or 19 months.