Thursday, March 8, 2012

Diocese of Texas takes the lead in breast health initiative

St. Luke's Episcopal Health Charities (SLEHC) in Houston is taking significant strides forward in its 'research informed grant making'. Established in 1997 by the Diocese of Texas, the agency is focused on evidenced based interventions in communities that are underserved by medical facilities. Its mapping and data collection systems are designed both to provide portals for access to health information and to identify data for public health interventions. In this it has become the lead agency within the metropolitan area of Houston, drawing together city, county and state authorities alongside foundations and other organisations concerned with public health.

SLEHC's most recent initiative was to focus on the distribution of breast health services. Its mapping tools identified areas in the city where women were most at risk of late diagnosis. The difference in survival rates can as high as 28 times between one community and another. Working with a range of breast health agencies and with the support of major foundations such as Avon, SLEHC has overseen the development of a breast health portal. This provides women with information on the range of services offered in their particular district. Partners in this project have used the mapping information to improve the distribution of mobile clinics and screening so that women in the poorest communities have ready access when they recognise a problem.

This level of leadership and innovation in faith based health care is a major inspiration for others. It promotes the value of data collection and management, and shows how Anglican agencies can take the lead in responding to needs that show up as a result. To see how this was achieved, follow this link to a short video that tells the story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3QUNibUgqw Check out the website on: http://www.slehc.org/

Paul

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