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Komen organization’s latest grant for She Matters pushes total support for program over $200,000

She Matters Resident Health Advocates and Upstate staff accept a check from the Susan G. Komen of Upstate New York organization in the lobby of the Upstate Cancer Center.

For the sixth year in a row, the She Matters team has secured a grant from Susan G. Komen Upstate New York, with the goal of continuing to screen underserved women in Syracuse for breast cancer.

The Susan G. Komen organization awarded a $26,235 grant to the Upstate Foundation to support the Upstate Cancer Center’s signature She Matters breast cancer outreach and education program. She Matters is a peer-to-peer community outreach program that educates women on the importance of breast cancer screenings. She Matters focuses on women living in Syracuse Housing Authority locations and other lower-income areas. This year’s grant award will also be used to pilot a new She Matters initiative targeting seniors and low-income residents of rural Onondaga, Oswego and Oneida counties in coordination with Upstate University Hospital’s new mobile mammography van.

The Komen organization has granted more than $200,000 to the program since it began in 2014.

“They’ve been great partners for the last six years,” said Upstate Assistant Vice President of Community Relations and Interim Chief of Staff Linda Veit, MPH. “We could not have started this program without them. They have believed in our mission from the beginning.”

Through the She Matters program, more than 500 women have had a mammogram and more than 1,500 women have been reached through educational communication about breast cancer.

Once a woman has a mammogram arranged through She Matters, the team continues to contact her annually about scheduling a new exam. Now five years into the program, Veit said as many as 30 percent of the women contacted in the last year have already had or have scheduled their own mammogram. Before the advent of She Matters, breast cancer screening was not uppermost in their minds.

“This is a huge shift in positive behavior that validates our work (and model) over the last five years. This is exactly the hallmark of a good public health program,” Veit said. “She Matters has become an important, established public health program in Central New York.”

Veit said Susan G. Komen’s support has also helped bring on other vital community partners and She Matters supporters including the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation, Macy’s, the Central New York Community Foundation, Women’s Fund of CNY and Syracuse Crunch Foundation.

Ongoing support for She Matters comes from Upstate Medical University, Syracuse Housing Authority, The Healthy Neighbors Partnership and Upstate Medical University’s Office of the President. Additional support comes from the Upstate departments of radiology, the Multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Program, the College of Medicine, the Upstate Cancer Center and the Upstate Foundation.

Caption: She Matters Resident Health Advocates and Upstate staff, including Upstate Assistant Vice President of Community Relations and Interim Chief of Staff Linda Veit, MPH (left holding check), stands with Kate Flannery (right holding check), executive director of Susan G. Komen Upstate New York at a recent check presentation for a grant to the Upstate Foundation that will support She Matters. Included with them is Rachel Ryan (top left), She Matters program coordinator.