Volunteers bring mobile unit to local women

Wanda English Burnett, Editor

The barriers to women getting breast exams were broken as Southeastern Indiana Cancer Health Network (SEICHN) volunteers rolled into Versailles last week.

According to volunteer Adrianne Lane, Ed D, RN, there are three barriers that keep women from getting the breast care they need: cost, distance and fear.

“We eliminate the cost by providing free exams, take the ‘distance’ factor out by bringing the mobile unit into their community, and relieve the fears of the women by partnering with local people, such as the health department here,” Lane told The Versailles Republican.

The network volunteers were grateful to Vicky Powell, public health nurse for Ripley County and her staff for partnering with their group to bring the mobile van to Versailles. “They make the appointments and provide a place where we can offer education on breast care,” noted Lane. Money to hire the St. Elizabeth van and mammographers was provided by a grant from the Indiana Breast Cancer Awareness Trust (IBCAT) license plate sales. The pink ribbon license plates mission is: To increase awareness and improve access to breast cancer screening and diagnosis throughout Indiana.

Grants provided by various foundations throughout the county have funded the van to offer free mammograms for area residents in the past. Some mentioned by Lane included: Margaret Mary Community Hospital, Speaking of Women’s Health, Hillenbrand foundation, Ripley County Community Foundation, along with the Susan G. Komen Foundation from the Greater Cincinnati Affiliate. They also have received funding from the Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund.

Yet this fall, the volunteer group will be partnering with Southeastern Indiana REMC, who will be sponsoring a mammogram screening day in October.

The SEICHN focuses on a five county area: Ripley, Dearborn, Franklin, Ohio and Switzerland counties.

Two members of the group who are both professors at the Cincinnati College of Nursing, Adrianne lane and Madeleine Martin, are from the area they serve. Lane, who has lived in a variety of places in Southeastern Indiana, is the director/president of the network. Martin hails from Moores Hill and is the secretary/treasurer. Jo Ellen Tucker, Bright, is a board member with Kimberly Herrmann, Harrison, as the Community Outreach Manager.

Together these women partner with various groups and agencies to bring breast care education, complete with mammograms to women who might not otherwise have the opportunity. While no one is turned away, priority is given to women who may be under or uninsured, lacking the funding for the service.

Before the van rolls into town, it is advertised in the local newspapers and posters are distributed in the area. The group has been very well received since its inception in 1999. They have provided over 1500 free mammograms and cancer educational programs to over 1800 residents.

“We need the continued support of you, our community collaborators and financial supporters to sustain our work in the community,” the SEICHN team related. Knowing that mammograms saves lives, these health care professionals are happy to volunteer their time to make a difference in the communities they serve.

Watch for advertisement about the October event that will feature breast screenings in Osgood.

Pictured from left are: Adrianne Lane, president of SEICHN, Madeleine Martin, secretary/treasurer of SEICHN, Vicky Powell, public health nurse for Ripley County, Debbie Walker, Office Manager for Ripley County health nurse, and Kimberly Herrmann, community outreach manager for SEICHN,the volunteer group responsible bringing the mobile unit for breast screening to local women.