Cook County CARES: Organized Approaches to Colorectal Cancer Screening

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PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: Cook County is the most populous county in Illinois and the second‐most populous county in the United States. According to the 2010 census, Cook County had 5,194,675 residents, who represented 40% of all residents in the state of Illinois. Although Cook County has a
similar colorectal cancer incidence rate as Illinois, its mortality rate is significantly higher than the Illinois overall rate and ranks 3rd across the 104 counties in Illinois. The overall aim of Cook County CARES (Cancer Alliance to Reignite and Enhance Screening) is to establish a multi-level, multifaceted framework to increase organized approaches to colorectal screening, prevention and control in partnership with a diverse group of healthcare system sector partners. The program purpose is to increase colorectal cancer screening rates among a defined target population of persons 50-75 years of age within a partner health system, defined geographical area (Cook County), and disparate populations. This project is aligned with achieve the CDC national level screening target of 80% by 2018.

TARGET POPULATION: Low-Income Asian American, Hispanic and African Americans in Cook County

COLLABORATING PARTNERS:

  • Heartland Health Centers
  • Asian Human Services Family Health Center
  • Mile Square Clinic

PROGRAM GOALS:

  1. Increasing formal partnerships that support increased screening.
  2. Evaluating provider performance in delivering or offering screening to clients (assessment) and present providers with information about their performance in providing screening services (feedback).
  3. Increasing knowledge about the need for colorectal cancer screening among target populations and implementing evidence-based client reminders.
  4. Increasing rate of high‐quality screening among defined patient population (e.g. annual fecal test rescreening rate, adequate test prep for colonoscopy)
  5. Implementing client reminders advising people that they are due for screening.
  6. Reducing structural barriers that make it difficult for people to access cancer screening

This project is designed to address the specific needs of an urban county with a dense and diverse population, to increase CRC screening rates and to address cancer disparities. Although Cook County has abundant health care resources compared to other counties in Illinois, lack of coordination diminishes its benefits. We expect this project to serve as a model for understanding the advantages of organized and collaborated efforts to increase colorectal cancer screening through partnership between community health systems (i.e. FQHCs) and a hospital system that serve a disproportionately large number of both racial/ethnic minority and underserved populations.

FUNDING for this project has been provided through a grant #1 NU58DP006079 from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

CONTACT: For more information please contact Matt Johnson at  mjohnson50@medicine.bsd.uchicago.edu