Summit Health’s women’s health services in Franklin County, Pennsylvania has been making a remarkable impact in the lives of their employees and the community for more than nine years through its engaging and life-saving “Mammo Challenge” program. This program ignites the spirit of fun and competition to educate and inspire employees and their families to receive annual mammograms so early detection is possible. Summit Health’s women’s health services include Rhonda Brake Shreiner Women’s Center, Waynesboro Hospital, Shippensburg Medical Campus, and John L. Grove Medical Center. The health system also offers OB/GYN care through Summit Women’s Group, and specialized breast care through Summit Breast Care Services.
The Pursuit for More Awareness
In May of 2009, one of Summit Health’s beloved nurses, Deb Mumma, was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and her courageous seven-year journey of battling this disease began. Needless to say, this devastating diagnosis deeply affected Deb, as well as her family, friends, and coworkers. Invigorated with a profound passion, Deb suggested to Laura Umbrell, the Breast Patient Care Navigator at the Rhonda Brake Shreiner Women’s Center (RBSWC), that there should be a program for employees to bring about much-needed change and awareness about the disease. Deb fervently believed more awareness for breast cancer and the importance of early detection, needed to be spread to the women working in their health system, and strongly encouraged women in her department to receive annual mammograms to promote healthy lives. Laura took Deb’s idea to Barbara Constable, the Director of the RBSWC, as well as the managers of the center and the Community Health Staff, and after many tireless meetings and much planning, later that year, Deb’s dream was born. The new Mammo Challenge was introduced to all the departments of the Waynesboro and Chambersburg Hospitals, as well as the Summit Physician Services practices.
Mammo Challenge Promotes Early Detection Through Fun & Connection
An indispensable and enjoyable year-round event for all involved, the Mammo Challenge is announced and promoted hospital-wide every June. Women are encouraged to form teams with their co-workers, and to support and cheer on team members who received or will receive a mammogram during that year. Team captains are responsible for recording the date of each woman’s mammogram throughout the year, and receive a special thank you gift for the hard work they put in. Not only do all women involved in the challenge receive an individual prize for participating and spreading awareness, but any woman who receives her first mammogram that year is awarded an extra prize as well. All participants are encouraged to come up with a creative name for their team, and a “Booby Prize” is awarded to the team with the most unique name.
To increase engagement and add additional fun to the Mammo Challenge, Summit Health employees created a significant video following the story (and drama) of their live “Breast Fairy” and “Ms. XQ-SEZ” (excuses). Every year, “Ms. XQ-SEZ” came up with excuse after excuse not to get her annual mammogram, and the “Breast Fairy” had to literally pull her kicking and screaming into her exam, and inform her that there is never an excuse not to get an annual mammogram. This clever video, along with corresponding promotional flyers brings lightheartedness to a serious matter, and are shown and posted throughout the hospital, encouraging employees to get their annual mammogram because early detection saves lives.
Mammo Challenge Promotional Flyers from 2013 and 2015 featuring “Ms. XQ-SEZ” and the “Breast Fairy”
Initially, the Mammo Challenge was created for women who were of age to receive a mammogram, but within a year or two, in an effort to bring more awareness about early detection, the program was brought into the homes of employees. Now, younger women and men are challenged to encourage the women in their lives to get their annual mammogram, and can sign up to be part of a team or act as a captain, on behalf of their loved one.
“The one thing I never expected to happen was how this program brought people together on a personal level,” said Laura Umbrell, Oncology & Certified Breast Patient Navigator and MammaCare Specialist at Summit Health.
“Suddenly, it was okay for a man to share that his mom had breast cancer. Women who never told anyone they had the disease, now shared their stories and advocated for early detection, to help encourage others to get annual screenings.”
A Growing, Optimistic Future
Over the last nine years, participation in the Mammo Challenge and increased annual screenings has been growing. In the first year of the challenge, only 67 participants received a mammogram. By 2018, nearly 500 individuals from over 30 teams participated in the challenge. Going forward, Laura Umbrell conveyed that their hope is to keep growing the program, so that more women within Summit Health and the community as a whole will receive annual screenings. By keeping alive the vital discussion about the importance of early detection, the hope is to not only save lives, but to also send a message of overall health and wellness. They aspire to also encourage exercise and healthy eating habits reinforced by many of the prizes and information shared through the program. A healthy team of care providers can make a big difference in the health of the overall community.
Thank you to Laura Umbrell and her team at Summit Health for sharing their engaging and successful Mammo Challenge program.
Does your facility have a story to share? We’d love to hear what programs or initiatives you’ve implemented to improve the patient experience. By sharing your story, together we can help make a difference in the lives of many.