When the director of The University of Kansas Cancer Center visited Great Bend recently, his high level of commitment to local cancer patients was obvious, said Mark Mingenback, director of business strategy at St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center.
Roy Jensen, M.D., was in town to discuss a program called Midwest Cancer Alliance (MCA) Funding Partners, as well as KU’s close relationship with St. Rose and its Heartland Cancer Center.
“We deeply appreciate Dr. Jensen’s efforts to engage our community at the grassroots level,” Mingenback said. “He and his staff are genuinely committed to cancer patients and families here and throughout Kansas.”
St. Rose is a member of MCA, which is the outreach arm of The University of Kansas Cancer Center. MCA Funding Partners is a statewide committee that educates Kansans about MCA benefits.
“It also connects donors to leaders at the KU Cancer Center,” said Mingenback, who is an MCA Funding Partners member. “We all have a passion for fighting cancer. KU and MCA, along with about 20 other cancer centers in Kansas have teamed up in this effort.
“The list of MCA benefits that our patients and community are currently using is impressive,” Mingenback added.
This list includes second opinions via interactive televideo (ITV); access to clinical trials sponsored by KU and the National Cancer Institute; genetic testing; tumor board; nurse navigator services; on-site research nurse at Heartland Cancer Center; cancer survivorship classes; monthly patient-education ITV classes; and Kitchen Therapy via ITV with KU dietitians.
Dr. Jensen said he and his staff have been impressed with St. Rose’s proactive use of these MCA resources since it became a member almost two years ago.
“We have been very pleased with the level of interaction between health-care teams at the KU Cancer Center and St. Rose,” Dr. Jensen said. “Patients in Great Bend have been placed in clinical trials, received second opinions and participated in many educational programs.
“This great partnership will thrive as we bring even more options for services close to home,” Dr. Jensen continued. “Heartland should be commended for always looking for opportunities to provide more cancer services in the Great Bend community.”
MCA Funding Partners has been spreading the word since its first meeting a year ago. Representatives have visited with chambers of commerce, civic clubs, and health-care and business leaders in Great Bend and other communities.
“Our goal is to support awareness and fundraising that provides services to health-care providers and patients throughout the Alliance,” Dr. Jensen commented. “Fundraising proceeds can be used for anything that will help provide more options close to home.”
Anyone who wants to donate to MCA Funding Partners can send gifts to the St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center Foundation in support of MCA.
The KU Cancer Center is a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated facility. During Dr. Jensen’s local visit with about 50 community and business leaders, he noted the next goal is achieving NCI “comprehensive” designation.
“It is critically important to partner with great organizations such as Heartland Cancer Center,” he said. “Cancer won’t be cured in one lab. We have to work together to make progress against a problem that is only going to get worse in the coming years.
“Many Kansas families will be touched by cancer at one time or another,” he continued. “It should be of great comfort to know that Heartland is forward-thinking enough to collaborate with physicians and researchers across the region toward a common goal – a world without cancer. We are grateful to Heartland and St. Rose for supporting MCA.”
St. Rose is part of Centura Health, which connects individuals and families across western Kansas and Colorado with more than 6,000 physicians, 15 hospitals, seven senior-living communities, physician practices and clinics, and home-care and hospice services.