Montrose Memorial Hospital Unveils Latest Initiative to Improve Women’s Health

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MONTROSE, CO: The hire of a new Community Health Worker begins Montrose Memorial Hospital’s latest initiative to improve women’s health.

Cassandra Herrera, also a Pharmacy Technician at the hospital, is transitioning into the new role designed to help improve community health—specifically, health issues for the approximately 25,000 women in the region. Ms. Herrera’s roles include educating the community, coordinating transportation solutions for patients in need, offering assistance to help patients schedule appointments and more.

“I’m excited to reach out to people and help them get the help they need,” said Ms. Herrera. “My biggest goal is to help women overcome barriers to screenings.”

The Community Health Worker role was established in part due to the results of the hospital’s recent study researching cancer in local women. In the study, area women were invited to participate in conversations about participation in cancer screenings and other related issues. The study helped the hospital identify barriers to better health for local women.

For Cassandra, the issues affecting her life have made the new position personal. Cassandra’s aunt died at 32 years old due to breast cancer. Back then, she says, many people didn’t understand the importance and value of early detection screenings. Cassandra also found herself directly affected by cancer when an appointment revealed precancerous cells on her cervix—a health concern that to this day requires regular check-ups. Because of her unique circumstances, she believes she understands the barriers to better health faced by women on the Western Slope.

The new role helps fill a deep void causing a shortage of women’s health screenings in the community: approximately 70% of women in the region are never or rarely screened for cervical cancer.

“The health of our community is our primary concern,” said Steve Hannah, MHA, CEO of Montrose Memorial Hospital. “Our study helped us identify barriers to improving women’s health. We are now taking action to break down those barriers and improve the wellness of women in our region.”

The position is being funded by a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Women’s Wellness Connection grant. The initiative is the latest of several to improve the health of women in the region: the hospital also recently announced the acquisition of advanced 3D mammography technology that will soon be available.

About Montrose Memorial Hospital (www.MontroseHospital.com)

Montrose Memorial Hospital is a 501(c)3 nonprofit healthcare system serving Montrose, San Miguel, Ouray, Gunnison, Delta, Hinsdale and San Juan counties. The health system offers a 75-bed hospital and an extensive range of inpatient & outpatient health care services, including cardiology, oncology, minimally invasive surgery, laboratory, medical imaging/radiology, Mountain View Therapy, Level III Trauma Center, Acute Rehab Unit and the family birthing center. The health system partners with regional providers on joint ventures to meet local healthcare needs, including CareFlight air ambulance service, San Juan Cancer Center and Black Canyon Surgical Center. Montrose Memorial is the second-largest employer in Montrose County, with more than 600 employees and 100 physicians who represent 23 medical specialties. The hospital has received patient satisfaction ratings exceeding 90% since 2010.