News Center for Community Health Partnership & Research

Pitch Partners² Announces Seed Funding Awards

The Center for Community Health Partnership and Research announces seed funding for two public health-related projects through its Pitch Partners² funding mechanism. The selected projects are centered on community-academic partnerships to achieve cancer health equity.

Community organizations “pitched” to a diverse group of stakeholders including fellow community organizations, citizens, and WashU staff at an event in the Pitch Partners series. There, attendees have the opportunity to present public health-related project ideas in order to identify potential partners and receive critical feedback. In addition to facilitating better communication between academia and the community regarding best practices, those in attendance learn about current Washington University community initiatives and research.

By invitation only, past participants of the Pitch Partners series are invited to apply for a rapid seed funding opportunity that nurtures and develops community-academic partnerships. The following projects were selected and recently received awards:

Outreach to Jefferson County Missouri – Awareness, Education and Survivor Support Programs

Team: Andrea R. Hagemann, MD, MSCI, associate professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Washington University; and St. Louis Ovarian Cancer Awareness

Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system. According to the Missouri Foundation for Health, 80 percent of Missouri is in a Health Professional Shortage Area, leaving one in five Missourians with limited access to primary care. Jefferson County Missouri is one such county. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reports that there will be more than 370 new diagnosis and 250 deaths from ovarian cancer in Missouri in 2020. Awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer is crucial to reducing the mortality from this disease. Jefferson County and surrounding areas are often overlooked and have limited access to primary care. St. Louis Ovarian Cancer Awareness (SLOCA) is the only non-profit organization in the St. Louis metro area with the sole focus of increasing ovarian cancer survivorship. The award will help SLOCA expand its programs, community outreach and area healthcare partnerships in Jefferson County.

Clinical and Community Coordination: A Clinical Provider’s Perspective to Enhance Collaboration for Patients with Breast Cancer

Team: Kia Davis, ScD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Washington University; and Gateway to Hope

The struggles patients encounter when faced with a chronic illness like breast cancer are complex. Gateway to Hope provides financial assistance and support services, delivered by a team of licensed social workers, for individuals going through breast cancer treatment.

This project aims to show that Gateway to Hope engaging with physicians and learning their approach to care can strengthen the overall patient care relationship and remove barriers to quality, timely care. The award will fund project development, execution and data analysis along with a survey of healthcare providers to better inform patient care processes and to develop stronger programming in service to patients.

Funding for these projects is made possible by the Pitch Partners² funding mechanism from the Institute for Public Health and the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center.