Birmingham Hospitals Join Forces for Breast Cancer


Rebecca DiPiazza, Project Director

Breast Cancer Survivorship Community Report Released

On the eve of Breast Cancer Awareness Month the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham released a comprehensive report on breast cancer survivorship services in the area.

In 2015, there were an estimated 3 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. As early detection and treatment options improve for breast cancer patients, the number of cancers survivors will increase by nearly 30% in the next decade. Breast cancer is the number one cancer diagnosis in females, and the female breast cancer mortality rate in Alabama is 23.4%.

In the fall of 2014, the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham along with all five major health care systems in the area launched an initiative to assess breast cancer survivorship services. Over the course of the last year, this unprecedented partnership has worked together to survey breast cancer survivors and co-survivors as well as breast cancer survivorship services in the Greater Birmingham area, including Blount, Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair and Walker counties.

Key findings included:

  1. Survivors, post diagnosis, often do not know where to go for services, even within the same healthcare system
  2. Due to decreased funding, support services for survivors and their co-survivors are lacking
  3. Where services do exist, there is a disconnect between services that are being offered and communication to survivors about the services
  4. There is an overall need for better education and outreach, particularly to vulnerable populations and especially those in rural communities

BCSRI Press Conference

The Women’s Breast Health Fund of the Community Foundation provided the one year grant, administered by St. Vincent’s Foundation, to conduct the assessment and analyze the data. “With the knowledge from this report, the Community Foundation and all five hospitals are working together on a shared services model,” said Christopher Nanni, President and CEO of the Community Foundation.

The hospitals involved in the assessment include Baptist Health System, Brookwood Medical Center, Grandview Medical Center, St. Vincent’s Health System UAB Health System and also the School of Nursing at UAB. All five have agreed to continue working together on this initiative and the Community Foundation has approved a second grant for the next 16 months that will allow for the development of a model while providing limited ‘shared services’.

“Our dream is to have a fully functioning, integrated and accessible array of holistic services supported by all the area hospitals” said Nanni. “As we develop this model, we will begin offering limited services in January of 2016. Our ultimate goal is that this program will serve as a model for other cancers and chronic illnesses.”

To view the report: BCSRI Community Report

BCSRI team


BCSRI Team Members:

Christopher Nanni, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham

Betsy Postlethwait, President, Princeton Baptist Medical Center

Amy Beard, Vice President of Women’s Services, Brookwood Medical Center

Wayne Carmello-Harper, Vice President Ascension Health and Chief Mission Integration Officer, St. Vincent’s Health System

Alice Johnson, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Grandview Medical Center

Karen Meneses, Professor and Associate Dean for Research, UAB School of Nursing

David Randall, Sr. Vice President Strategic Planning and Business Development, UAB  Health System

Rebecca DiPiazza – Project Director, BCSRI