Access Now’s New Partnership with Ellen Shaw de Paredes Institute for Women’s Imaging Improves Breast Cancer Care
Throughout her career as a breast cancer researcher, Dr. Ellen Shaw de Paredes has always made access to health care a top priority. So it only seems natural that she has teamed up with the physician volunteers, clinics and hospitals that make up the Access Now network of care.
Her Ellen Shaw de Paredes Research Foundation’s primary goal, she says, is “education and research and care of underserved individuals.”
After opening her radiology practice devoted to women’s health in Glen Allen in 2005, her foundation looked for ways to expand mammography services to this population in the Richmond area. “That’s where Access Now came into the picture,” she explains.
After discussions with Bon Secours Richmond Health System – which agreed to provide free mammography at several of its hospitals – “We decided we needed to arrange for follow-up care as well as cancer treatment.”
Often women who need a mammogram face a conundrum: If they lack health insurance or other financial resources, they may avoid getting tested if they don’t see a clear path for treatment. “There is a barrier because they’re afraid they will have something detected and won’t be able to afford the treatment.”
Access Now offered a way out of this dilemma. After talking with board chair Carolyn E. Thomas, MD, says Dr. de Paredes, she learned that for patients to be referred to Access Now, they had to be financially screened. “We also learned that the best way to do that was through a medical home or a clinic that would see them,” and help them manage their medical care.
“We started, then, a process of developing a partnership which is really unique,” Dr. de Paredes says of her work with the area’s free clinics and Access Now. She speaks from a position of authority: Dr. de Paredes has academic positions at the University of Virginia and MCV.