Foundation, SECURUS House start breast health partnership

By Maria-Jose Subiria


The Southern Regional Medical Center Foundation and SECURUS House, a non-profit organization for victims of family violence, celebrated the launch of a formal partnership, on Thursday.

A reception marking the occasion was held in the Educational Center of Southern Regional Medical Center, in Riverdale. The partnership was created as a part of Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence Awareness, recognized in the month of October, said Cynthia Jenkins, director of the Southern Regional Medical Center Foundation.

The partnership will allow the foundation to conduct outreach education, by providing breast cancer awareness training, and free mammograms, for qualifying victims housed at SECURUS House, she said.

"Today, we acknowledge the fight for breast cancer," said Jenkins, to about 50 audience members in the room.

Pat Altemus, executive director of SECURUS House, explained that a victim of family violence gives little importance to his or her health, "because you are trying to live."

"It's very important that we are able to serve our women in our community," said Altemus, about the outreach education program the foundation will provide for SECURUS House.

Debbie Roddenberry, outpatient diagnostic manager for imaging services, at Southern Regional, said the outreach education was made possible through a $133,000 grant that was awarded to the foundation by Susan G. Komen for the Cure Greater Atlanta.

Furthermore, the grant will also allow the foundation to assist people who cannot afford breast health services, including mammograms, ultrasounds and biopsies, said Roddenberry. Patients, who qualify, must meet certain criteria, including having low incomes, being medically uninsured and/or being medically underinsured.

Individuals, who think they may qualify for financial assistance through the grant, should contact the Women's Center at Spivey Station, in Jonesboro, at (678) 364-4400. According to the Southern Regional Health System web site, www.southernregional.org, Spivey Station is a location provided by the non-profit health system.

According to foundation director Jenkins, the partnership with SECURUS House is important because contributors are usually more attracted to donate money, when they see a collaboration such as this. "It increases the chances of [funding] from private and public funding services," said Jenkins.

Andrea Mendez, development coordinator for the Southern Regional Medical Center Foundation, added that donations will also assist the foundation's MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) $1.5 million capital campaign.

Mendez said that although Spivey Station offers an array of breast-care services for the Southside, it does not offer a one-stop-shop imaging component for breast care, which includes mammograms. Breast cancer patients, who need mammograms, are usually sent to Northside Hospital, in Atlanta, by Southern Regional.

Clayton County Sheriff Kem Kimbrough, who is a member of the board of SECURUS House, was the only male in attendance, during Thursday's reception. The sheriff said he is hopeful to see more men come out and support events such as these.

"I am a little disheartened that I am the only man today ... I think there should be more men supporting women's health issues," he said.