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BENNINGTON — Southwestern Vermont Medical Center is one of 20 U.S. hospitals chosen by the American Cancer Society for a project intended to increase rates of colon cancer screening, SVMC announced Thursday.

The three-year project is intended to deliver evidence-based cancer-prevention and screening interventions that can be used by other hospitals to improve outcomes.

“I am thrilled to embark on this journey with SVMC over the next three years. I have witnessed the great work they already do around colorectal cancer screening, so it came as no surprise they were recognized,” Amy Deavitt, cancer control strategic partnerships manager for the American Cancer Society’s Northeast Region, said in a release. “We look forward to increasing our communities’ awareness around colorectal cancer screening.”

Under the project, SVMC has been designated as a Hospital Systems Capacity Building Community of Practice.

The aim of the HSCB COP project is to bring well-performing health systems together to share tools, resources, and capacity-building assistance and to solidify evidence-based methods to improve community health, SVMC said in a statement.

The Vermont Department of Health, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Vermonters Taking Action Against Cancer, ACS, and professionals from multiple SVMC departments served as instrumental partners in SVMC’s previous work to increase colorectal cancer screening rates and will remain on the team throughout this COP project, the hospital said.

“Partnership has always been one SVMC’s greatest strengths,” said Charlene Ives, MD, medical director of SVMC’s Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center. “This project will allow us to broaden our engagement with our current partners and other health systems in the collaborative to increase our colorectal cancer screening rates.”

Nine of the 20 hospitals, including SVMC, will be working on increasing rates of colorectal cancer screening. The remainder are working to increase rates of HPV vaccination or to improve breast health equity.

In a letter notifying hospital leadership of the opportunity, Meg Fischer, the director of Hospital Systems Capacity Building, identified SVMC as “one of the most promising sites for this work across the country.”

HSCB is administered by the American Cancer Society and is a project of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The project is funded through the Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support.


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