Dr. Sheryl Gabram directs the AFCBC
In 2000 the Avon Foundation selected the Emory Winship Cancer Institute as steward of its Atlanta investment in breast cancer. Since then, the collaboration between Emory and Avon has evolved into one of the nation's model programs for providing breast health care services to underserved communities, primarily through the Avon Foundation Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center (AFCBC) at Grady Memorial Hospital's Cancer Center for Excellence.
The AFCBC's comprehensive, multidisciplinary program offers a full spectrum of clinical and support services, including screening, diagnosis, treatment, counseling and laboratory research. Its multidisciplinary team is comprised of medical and surgical oncologists, epidemiologists, pathologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, psychiatrists, scientists and statisticians. Dr. Sheryl Gabram, a Professor of Surgery in our Division of Surgical Oncology, has directed the center since 2005.
In the last decade, Avon has awarded more than $11,000,000 to Winship and the AFCBC to further its mission to expand breast health care for medically underserved women in metropolitan Atlanta. Avon's funding has helped build new facilities; acquire state-of-the-art equipment; support leading-edge breast cancer research projects aimed at improving outcomes for underserved women diagnosed with breast cancer in Atlanta; sponsor training of volunteer Community Health Advocates (CHAs) who conduct educational programs in local churches, workplaces and health fairs; establish a staff of breast cancer survivors known as patient navigators to help newly diagnosed patients navigate the healthcare system; and create a Mammography Task Force, which sets appointment timelines for services at the center. Screening mammograms are now scheduled within 30 days and diagnostic mammography appointments and biopsy procedures are scheduled within two weeks.
Dr. Gabram says the Avon Foundation's ongoing support has resulted in significant improvements in the breast center.
"The number of women diagnosed with breast cancer at early stages has doubled," she says, "with a corresponding decrease in the number of women who are diagnosed with late stage disease. We are providing over 16,000 mammography, diagnostic, and screening services annually and this is a significant increase from past years."
In 2010 the AFCBC was granted full accreditation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), a program administered by the American College of Surgeons. According to the NAPBC, accreditation is granted only to those centers that have voluntarily committed to provide the highest level of breast care and undergo a rigorous evaluation and review of their performance. During the survey process, the center must demonstrate compliance with standards established by the NAPBC for treating women who are diagnosed with the full spectrum of breast disease. The standards include proficiency in the areas of center leadership, clinical management, research, community outreach, professional education, and quality improvement. A breast center that achieves NAPBC accreditation has demonstrated a firm commitment to offer its patients every significant advantage in their battle against breast disease.
For scheduling information, directions and so forth, please see the AFCBC section of the Grady website.