Since its inception over three decades ago, The Rose has been offering advanced, life-saving breast healthcare services to meet the growing needs of all women regardless of their financial situation. Now, the leading nonprofit breast healthcare organization in Southeast Texas, The Rose, provides breast cancer screenings, diagnostic services, and access to treatment for approximately 40,000 uninsured and insured women in forty different counties annually.1 Through its two, unique free-standing Mammography and Diagnostic Imaging Centers in Houston and Bellaire, and two 3D Mobile Mammography health coaches, The Rose’s irreplaceable programs and highly-trained medical professionals have been impacting the lives of countless women, their families, and the communities they serve.
Driven by Frustration and Motivated by Passion
In the early 1980’s, before the advocacy, knowledge, and advancement of breast healthcare services known today, Dorothy Gibbons and Surgeon, Dr. Dixie Melillo, witnessed firsthand that breast cancer awareness and access to preventative care was severely lacking. Prior to launching The Rose, there was no viable way for uninsured women to receive mammograms. Fueled by frustration and the deep conviction that no one should go without access to essential breast healthcare services, both Dorothy and Dr. Melillo pursued their passion to educate and ignite change, and consequently founded The Rose organization in 1986. Thanks to the support from their insured patients, donors, fundraising, and the community, it is the first nonprofit breast cancer organization dedicated to providing screenings, diagnostics, and treatment services to the uninsured.
The Rose’s Programs Promote Early Detection and Care for All
The Rose seeks to eliminate all barriers that may prevent a woman from getting the quality breast healthcare she deserves, whether it be lack of health insurance, limited finances, or even the inability to take time off work. All services offered by The Rose are available to the uninsured through their many sponsorship programs. In 1999, the powerful patient navigation sponsorship program, Empower Her®, was founded. This nationally acclaimed program provides uninsured patients diagnosed with breast cancer the guidance and support they need to take control of their health and treatment options regardless of finances. Patient Navigators are by the patient’s side; offering one-on-one advocacy throughout the entire process of diagnosis, physician appointments, and treatment.
What’s so powerful and significant about The Rose’s Empower Her® program, is it eliminates isolation, confusion, and the financial stress that many go through after getting diagnosed and throughout treatment, and instead, provides individuals, above all else, the caring support they need to focus on getting well. Patients that require additional procedures or treatments that The Rose is unable to provide, may be connected to The Rose’s Physician Network of more than 500 physicians who have graciously agreed to donate their services to one patient a year.2 Since its establishment, millions of dollars’ worth of services have been provided each year at no cost to the patient.
Since 2006, The Rose has been offering women of Southeast Texas the added convenience of receiving their life-saving services through their 3D Mobile Mammography Program. Seven community engagement teams are committed to coordinating mobile days, as well as partnering with, and educating the community about the importance of early detection. The Rose’s luxury mobile health coaches travel up to 400 miles to bring state-of-the-art services, like 3D digital imaging, to thousands of women in their homes, workplaces, churches, and schools. This program ensures that women unable to travel due to limited resources still receive the quality breast healthcare they deserve so they don’t have to delay or even skip vital annual screenings. Due to its success, a third mobile health unit is currently underway, and over 90 sites are anxiously awaiting its completion!
Looking to the Future
The Rose has served nearly 500,000 women and men since its launch in 1986 and has become much more than a traditional medical facility. 3 It is acclaimed as a caring community of people helping other people; ensuring that those in need don’t fall through the cracks, and saving countless lives in the process. Over three decades later, The Rose is still thriving and has become an essential resource for women throughout Southeast Texas. As a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, The Rose is one of only 14 Breast Centers in the greater Houston area to receive this designation. Quality breast healthcare screenings performed by their board-certified Radiologists and specialized technical staff led to nearly 400 diagnoses in 2018, 1/2 of which are uninsured women. Dorothy passionately conveyed that her (and The Rose’s) hope is to continue to fulfill their mission to spread the word about the significance of early detection, erase the misunderstanding that breast cancer does not discriminate based on age, and to continue to strive to find a better way to treat uninsured women.
Thank you to Dorothy Gibbons, Co-founder of The Rose, for sharing their flourishing, life-saving program. For more information about The Rose, please visit: www.therose.org