Oakland, Calif. – January 6, 2020 – January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. In honor of this important national health awareness observance, Alameda Health System (AHS) and Alameda Alliance for Health (Alliance) are teaming up to encourage more than 10,000 women in Alameda County to come in for their annual cervical screening at any AHS Women’s Wellness Center. Alliance members will be rewarded with a $25 Safeway gift card upon the completion of a cervical cancer screening.

Every year, 4,210 women die of cervical cancer, including a disproportionately high number of women of color, who already bear the brunt of health disparities. Once the leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States, today cervical cancer is almost 100 percent preventable with routine screening tests and HPV vaccination. It is also highly curable when found and treated early.

“Of the over 13,000 women in the United States annually diagnosed with cervical cancer, more than half have either never been screened or have not been screened in the past five years,” said Dr. Kevin Smith Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “As a result of known challenges, comprising social determinants of health, many of our patients may experience a delay in cervical screenings and we want to contact each one of them in an effort to make sure they do not become part of this statistic.”

Research shows that Black and Hispanic women are more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage, when their cervical cancer is much more difficult to treat. Despite recent declines in cervical cancer overall, African American women with cervical cancer have higher mortality rates than women of any other racial or ethnic group in the United States. Latinas experience a nearly 40 percent higher rate of cervical cancer compared to non-Hispanic white women. Black women are 41% more likely to get cervical cancer than white women.

“At AHS, our vision is to be recognized as a world-class patient and family centered system of care that promotes wellness, eliminates disparities and optimizes the health of our diverse communities,” said Dr. Dimitry Lerner Director of Gynecologic Oncology at AHS. “Partnerships like this that provide access to cervical cancer screenings and raise awareness of preventive health care measures for our patients and community, help bring us closer to that goal.”

“Our mission at the Alliance is to improve the quality of life of individuals throughout our community by collaborating with our provider partners,” said Alliance Quality Improvement Medical Director, Dr. Sanjay Bhatt. “This initiative is a testament to the Alliance’s strong partnership with AHS in promoting access and quality care to Alameda County’s most vulnerable residents.”

Jeanne Herrera