Healthy Beginnings

Nonprofit Spotlight: Nevada Health Centers – Mammovan

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Nevada Health Centers is a nonprofit organization that provides healthcare services to more than 50,000 children and adults in city, rural and frontier communities throughout Nevada each year. Established in 1977, the organization is one of the first federally funded community health centers, as authorized under the Public Health Services Act of 1976. Nevada Health Centers is the largest provider of primary care for the uninsured, underinsured and/or geographically isolated people in the state — in some cases, Nevada Health Centers rural and frontier clinics are the only places for people to get healthcare without having to travel hundreds of miles. The organization offers a sliding fee scale based on federal poverty levels.

Nevada Health Centers provides various primary care and other services to underserved Nevadans, including: physical exams, immunizations, care for illnesses such as a cold or the u, minor procedures, health and nutrition education, and dental health, pharmacy, pediatric and X-ray services. The organization also dedicates vast resources to women’s healthcare services, including: annual pap smears, breast exams, birth control, family planning, STD testing and, most notably, mobile mammograms by the traveling – and, very pink – Mammovan.

The Nevada Health Centers Mammovan – a mobile mammography van that travels to underserved areas of our state to provide mammograms to geographically isolated and/or uninsured women – began operating in 2000, and was recently renovated via a grant funded by the Engelstad Family Foundation to further enhance its patient care environment, promoting good health and wellness. The Mammovan’s intention is similar to Susan G. Komen, which is “to capture and increase the number of asymptomatic individuals undergoing screening mammography for the early detection of breast cancer.”

In September 2015, Pahrump resident Sherry Brady learned the value of early detection. Sherry, a family caregiver caring for her husband who was battling leukemia, put her health aside to ensure that his final days were peaceful and filled with love and care. After her husband’s passing, she decided to focus on her health and, because she was uninsured, connected with the Mammovan.

“In September 2015, I had a mammogram on the Mammovan,” Sherry shared on YouCaring, an online fundraising program. “The mammogram concluded that there were abnormalities and further testing was suggested. I followed up with a healthcare professional who ordered a biopsy and PET scan. Those tests determined that I had stage 3 triple-negative breast cancer. The surgeon said a mastectomy was necessary. I opted for a double mastectomy. A biopsy was completed after surgery and those results revealed that I was cancer free. As a precaution, I completed 27 weeks of chemotherapy. I truly believe that because the Mammovan program ensured that, in spite of my financial circumstances, I was able to receive a crucial mammogram screening, my life has been saved!”

Early detection of breast cancer with mammograms means that treatment can be started earlier in the course of the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute. Results from randomized clinical trials and other studies show that screening mammography can help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer among women ages 40 to 74.

The Mammovan was made possible through a grant secured by Senator (then Congressman) John Ensign and the former First Lady of Nevada, Dema Guinn. Nevada’s First Lady, Kathleen Sandoval, is the current spokeswoman and Honorary Chair for the Mammovan.

For more information about the Mammovan, to view the May Mammovan schedule or to make a donation, visit www.NevadaHealthCenters.org/Services/Mammovan. To make an appointment, call 877-581-6266.

MAMMOVAN QUICK FACTS

    • 42,000 women screened in the state of Nevada
    • Provides screening mammogram services to women throughout Nevada
    • Current vehicle has covered 230,000 miles during continuance crisscrossing of state since 2008
    • Targets women ages 40 and over, but also provides services to women under 40 who are referred by a physician
    • Provided to all women regardless of economic status (payment methods include Medicaid, Medicare, insurance and a sliding fee scale, and some women may be eligible for a no-cost screening)