August 03, 2016

American Cancer Society honors Fouad with the St. George National Award

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fouad small 300x225The American Cancer Society recognized Mona Fouad, M.D., M.P.H. with the American Cancer Society St. George National Award.

The St. George National Award is the Society’s most prestigious Division volunteer honor. It is presented to outstanding community volunteers in recognition of their distinguished service in achieving the American Cancer Society’s strategic goals.

The award was presented during a ceremony in Birmingham at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. Fouad is one of 22 inspirational individuals from across the country who received the award for extraordinary service to the community in support of the Society’s mission to save lives and end the pain and suffering of cancer. Recipients were chosen based on their continuous leadership, commitment, and dedication to key initiatives in more than one area of fundraising, mission delivery, patient support, legislative advocacy, and special event engagement.

“Dr. Fouad has given an impressive amount of time and passion to the American Cancer Society’s efforts to eliminate disparity in screening and to increase lay navigation,” said Diana Diaz, chair, Mid-South Division Board of Directors.

The work of Fouad, through the Deep South Network, addresses the issues of navigation, disparity and access to care in an area of the country where disparity in healthcare and social determinants of health are at the greatest levels — the South. During her fifteen-plus year work with Dr. Ed Partridge, past St. George Award winner, they have successfully eliminated the disparity in breast cancer screening between Medicare African American and Caucasian populations in the Black Belt of Alabama. Their work is also impacting the Mississippi Delta.

Not satisfied with the success of the community navigator program in the area of breast cancer, the Deep South Network community peer educators and navigators are now working in the areas of colorectal cancer and obesity. Still seeking to see this model work further along in the cancer continuum beyond their efforts at navigation of disparate populations in the areas of prevention and early detection, Dr. Fouad worked with UAB to secure one of three CMS Innovation Grants to test the theory that navigation through cancer treatment and survivorship/end of life care in the hospital environment with trained lay navigators would increase quality of life, reduce the cost of care, and improve treatment outcomes. Though yet unpublished, the preliminary findings of this work are very promising.

 Fouad proactively shares her findings with the American Cancer Society and has led the way for the Society in the field of navigation. When the American Cancer Society decided to adapt the Deep South Network breast cancer lay navigation model with volunteers, Fouad helped to adapt training materials, model, and evaluation tools. The program has been tremendously successful in Mid-South for more than seven years and has resulted in the education of tens of thousands of women in the disparate population throughout seven locations in our division, and the navigation of thousands of women to breast cancer screening. The American Cancer Society credits the work of Fouad and the Deep South Network with much of the progress made by the American Cancer Society in the field of lay navigation in prevention and screening.

Since it was conceived in 1949 by Dr. Charles S. Cameron, former Society medical and scientific director, the St. George National Award has been presented annually to Society volunteers nationwide. To be nominated, a volunteer must have served as a leader in the Society’s community initiatives for a minimum of six continuous years, and must have made a significant impact on the Society’s strategic goals and mission-driven programs. Nominations are made by local Division Boards, approved by the St. George National Award Task Force, and presented to the American Cancer Society Board of Directors.