Colorectal Cancer Screening Demonstration Project
From 2005 to 2009, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded five colorectal cancer (CRC) screening demonstration projects around the United States, only one of which was based in an academic medical center (AMC) rather than in a health department. The Suffolk County Preventive Endoscopy Project (Project SCOPE) was a collaborative effort between Stony Brook University Medical Center (SBUMC) and the Suffolk County Department of Health Services. Project SCOPE's objective was to increase CRC screening among Suffolk County residents at least 50 years old who had inadequate or no insurance coverage for CRC screening.
The demonstration application drew on the screening, diagnostic, and treatment resources of the AMC and the indigent populations using its outpatient clinics. Patients at 10 county health centers were a primary target for (previously inaccessible) colonoscopy screening.
The project's organizational center was SBUMC's Preventive Medicine department, which was linked to SBUMC's large gastroenterology practice. The specific staffing, financial, and training issues faced by this project provide insights for others who are similarly interested in community engagement.
During 40 months of screening, 800 indigent, culturally diverse patients were recruited, and they underwent colonoscopy. Challenges encountered included unreachable referred patients (425 patients; 28% of referrals) and medical ineligibility (e.g., symptomatic comorbid conditions). Pending legislation providing federal funding for a national program offers other AMCs the opportunity to adopt a model such as that proven feasible during Project SCOPE. The lessons learned may have broader application for fostering collaborative AMC partnerships and for enhancing recruitment and retention of participants through outreach.
(Abstract from Lane DS, Cavanagh MF, Messina CR, Anderson JC. An Academic Medical Center Model for Community Colorectal Cancer Screening: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Demonstration Program Experience. Acad Med. 2010 May 6. [Epub ahead of print])