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Professional football and the color pink go together during October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Each October, the National Football League joins the American Cancer Society to raise awareness about the importance of regular breast cancer screenings and to raise money to help fight breast cancer.

Throughout October, NFL players, coaches and referees wear pink on the field to remind everyone about the importance for women to take steps to find breast cancer early, through regular mammograms, when it’s easier to treat. Hats, wristbands and other apparel are worn at NFL games. Special footballs and pink coins are then auctioned off with proceeds benefitting the American Cancer Society.

Through A Crucial Catch, the American Cancer Society also invites youth and high school teams to take part by hosting their own breast cancer awareness games, in which players and coaches wear school-provided special pink uniforms, wristbands, shoelaces, etc., to help raise funds in support of the American Cancer Society’s fight against breast cancer. Football clubs, and fans, can register teams to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. This noncompetitive event raises millions of dollars every year to fund breast cancer research and provide information, services, and access to mammograms for women who need them.

Additionally, the Society’s advocacy affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), is participating in A Crucial Catch by encouraging Congress to increase funding for the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP). This program offers free early detection tests for breast and cervical cancer to uninsured low income women.

Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment

and Equity (CHANGE)

Since 2012, NFL’s A Crucial Catch Initiative has provided funding to the CHANGE grant program to promote health equity and ensure that all women have access to screening resources –regardless of income and insurance status. The National Football League has contributed over $8 million in support of the CHANGE Grant Program. This collective contribution has resulted in over 105 new and continuation grants to community health systems to implement strategies proven to increase cancer education and access to breast cancer screenings. As of February 2016, CHANGE grant recipients located throughout all NFL markets reached underserved women through 200,937 outreach and education engagements, and provided 93,598 breast cancer screenings at low or no cost. This life-changing work will continue into 2016 and reach even more women with breast cancer education and screening resources.


Baptist Health was the 2012-2014 recipient of the NFL Crucial Catch grant. The “Enhancing Breast Health through Early Detection” project focused on increasing screening among African American and Hispanic or Latina women age 40 and older through outreach education and access to mammography screening.

As the 2012-2014 NFL Crucial Catch recipients, Baptist Health at its Margaret and Robert Hill Breast Center, and its breast centers located at its community hospitals, provided more than 400 no-cost mammography screenings to African American and Hispanic/Latina women ages 40 and older. In addition, through Baptist Health’s Faith-Based Partnership Program and with the assistance of Baptist Health breast navigators, more than 1,800 women received breast outreach through group and one-on-one education. In addition, more than 600 screening navigation encounters were provided to patients to remove barriers to screening. These barriers included access to transportation, translation services, and increased appointment scheduling.

Baptist Health’s Hill Breast Center, located in the new Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center, is the largest breast center in Northeast Florida with a multidisciplinary team that provides breast education and screening, treatment, rehabilitation and support services including genetic testing and counseling as well as psychological services. For patients diagnosed with breast cancer, the Hill Breast Center and breast centers at Baptist Health’s community hospitals bring the collaborative expertise of oncologists, surgeons, mammography specialists, and pathologists to develop personalized treatment plan.


I.M Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless Health Center is the 2014-2016 recipient of the NFL Crucial Catch grant. The “Breaking Barriers to Screening” breast cancer and early detection project is in partnership with the Florida Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program-Duval County to provide reduced cost screening to the patients of the Sulzbacher Health Center.

Since receiving NFL Crucial Catch funds, the I.M. Sulzbacher Health Center and FLBCCEDP-Duval have provided free breast cancer screenings to over 300 women and educated over 500 women on the importance of breast cancer early detection through group and one-on-one education outreach. In addition, the partners have managed over 600 patient navigation encounters which include removing barriers to screening and assisting women in scheduling appointments for screening services.

The NFL Crucial Catch grant also created capacity for process and system changes within the Sulzbacher Health Center in the form of educating clinic staff on the American Cancer Society’s screening guidelines and the implementation of screening policies and staff workflows. These are sustainable changes that ensure that every woman in need of screening is identified, educated and navigated to breast cancer screening.  

The I.M. Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless Health Center is a 501c (3) federally qualified health center that provides a complete range of primary care services on a sliding fee scale to those in need in Duval County, Florida. The Sulzbacher Health Clinic operates under the direction of a full-time Medical Director and managing staff nurse and also provides case management, health education classes, vision screenings, and reduced cost medications and eyewear.

The Florida Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program-Duval (FLBCCEDP-Duval) provides breast and cervical cancer screening exams to medically underserved women in Duval, Clay, Nassau, and St. John’s counties. The program also provides care coordination to all clients with abnormal examinations and in need of additional diagnostic screenings and medical treatment.

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