On Tuesday morning, I had the pleasure of accompanying Marie Yardis, the program manager of CHC’s Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection program to Hartford to learn more about the current situation behind funding for Early Detection Programs. The CT Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection program provides free mammograms and PAP tests to women who have no health insurance. This particular event was organized by the American Cancer Society to bring different people together, who all have a strong passion for EDP in one way or another. The Community Health Center, Inc. has a known presence throughout the state and a close working relationship with the Middlesex Hospital of Middletown, which is something I got to witness in person while we prepared to visit some legislators. CHC has been a part of the EDP coalition since receiving the grant in 1998; they have also added the Colorectal screening program which is managed by Nicole Jarjura.
Attendees of this event had time to mingle with new and familiar faces in the old judiciary room of the capitol building and as time passed, different combinations of people disbursed to share stories and statistics to various members of the legislature. Along with Marie, my group consisted of three women from Middlesex Hospital and one woman who has been experiencing the repercussions of a family with a history of cancer and no health insurance. We met with Jill Fitzgerald, a staff member of the CT General Assembly who seemed very interested in what people were saying. The general consensus is that screening, education, and prevention within the realm of EPD is ESSENTIAL. The passion I was able to observe from the different people who took time from their day to raise awareness about the ongoing funding debate was remarkable. It did not matter where they came from or why they came, what mattered was that they believed in what they were supporting and that was the people whose health depends on Early Detection programs and the funding that supports it.