AVON Breast Health Initiative

Prior to AVON funding of BMC’s patient navigation program in 2004, nearly 40% of at-risk women were not completing timely diagnostic evaluation services for a documented breast cancer screening abnormality. Initial funds supported a comprehensive needs assessment, which identified a lack of coordination across the healthcare system and complex, patient-level barriers to care delivery. The aim of the AVON Initiative at BMC is to reduce delays in breast cancer care delivery by addressing these patient-level barriers through patient navigation. Our program represents the group most likely to receive a diagnosis of late-stage cancer, least likely to adhere to recommended care, and most likely to die from the disease.

Amy Fitzpatrick, Clinical Supervisor of the AVON Breast Health Initiative
Amy Fitzpatrick, Clinical Supervisor of the AVON Breast Health Initiative

The AVON Initiative at BMC prides itself on the use of community input and objective data to design, continuously evaluate, monitor, and enhance innovative programs to address the changing needs of these diverse communities. Patient navigation remains at the cornerstone of the Initiative, serving more than 33,000 women since the program’s inception and is largely responsible for the improvements in care we’ve consistently demonstrated year after year. Our patient navigation model targets women with an identified screening abnormality, assess their individual barriers to care, utilizes existing resources to address those barriers and tracks them over time to ensure completion of all services.

Avon funding is responsible for our innovations in the use of electronic medical record (EMR) tracking systems and rigorous, patient-centered evaluation efforts, which continues to demonstrate over a fifty percent reduction in diagnostic delays for the women seeking care at BMC. Avon funds also support the dissemination of our program findings, which has contributed to the emergence of patient navigation as a national model to reduce breast cancer disparities.

Click here to see our Avon and Boston Medical Center Patient Navigator Toolkits.