Photo by Dean Forbes
Sea Mar Community Health Centers, Washington’s largest community health provider to Latino patients, has become the first outreach affiliate within the growing Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Network. The two organizations will team to bring a variety of services to Sea Mar providers and their patients including cancer prevention and screening education, treatment referral, and physician education.
A key benefit of this relationship will be better continuity of care for Sea Mar patients who choose to be treated at the SCCA. Sea Mar’s primary care physicians will have a more formal referral relationships with the SCCA’s oncologists and that will make it easier to track their patients and to help ensure follow up. Language and other cultural barriers will be easier to overcome with Sea Mar providers as intermediaries.
"Sea Mar's memorandum of understanding with the SCCA creates an effective mechanism for preventing and treating cancer in low-income families in western Washington,” said Rogelio Riojas, Sea Mar’s executive director. “It embodies our common commitment to provide the best possible health care to our community's most vulnerable members."
The formal outreach affiliation also extends a longtime research relationship between Sea Mar and the Hutchinson Center, which operates the SCCA with partners University of Washington Medicine and Seattle Children’s. For example, a pilot project led by Dr. Gloria Coronado to increase use of a type of colon cancer screening test was conducted at Sea Mar clinics with successful outcomes.
“We are extremely excited to have a relationship with the largest community health provider for the Spanish-speaking population in the Pacific Northwest,” said Norm Hubbard, SCCA executive vice president.
“We are very pleased to offer state-of-the-art oncology care to those patients served by Sea Mar,” said Dr. Marc Stewart, SCCA medical director. “We look forward to partnering with physicians at Sea Mar to deliver seamless services to our Spanish speaking community.”
The SCCA will produce Spanish-language brochures and other materials to help educate patients about cancer prevention and screening. Sea Mar’s primary care physicians will be able to attend continuing medical education seminars about cancer care. The SCCA will participate in some events that are significant to the Hispanic community, including Fiestas Patrias in September and National Week of Health in October. The two organizations will collaborate on grant applications to benefit cancer community cancer care.