Monroe, LA – Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NEDHSA) and Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center (MBPCC) have entered into an agreement to ensure citizens with mental health, substance use disorders, and developmental disabilities in Northeast Louisiana can have convenient access to cancer prevention and early detection screening services.
NEDHSA Executive Director Dr. Monteic A. Sizer said the agency’s patients and vulnerable communities are “disproportionately affected by various forms of cancer and too many other chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, inflammatory disorders, and hypertension.”
“This relationship is significant because we understand the comorbidities our patients have,” Dr. Sizer said. “I promised the region’s people that we would help improve their overall health outcomes and that we would do all we could to connect the mentally ill, the addicted, the disabled, and the poor to lifesaving behavioral and primary health services.”
NEDHSA and MBPCC agree to share service resources, make appropriate referrals for screening, education, and treatment services, and conduct other planned activities that are mutually beneficial to both agencies.
MBPCC Regional Manager Myra Gatling-Akers said, “we are pleased to work with a like-minded organization that seeks to serve the most vulnerable members of the community.”
“By bringing cancer screenings and early detection education to those we serve, we are providing potentially life-saving access and resources, as well as assisting individuals who experience an abnormal finding and need additional testing and care,” Gatling-Akers said.
“Our research tells us that our patients and the general public need these types of services to live and thrive,” Dr. Sizer said. “And when our research and data analytics trend in a particular way, we strategically align our business operations and then work collaboratively with others to remove treatment barriers and get people the lifesaving interventions and treatments they need.”
In order to help mitigate negative social determinants of health that are often correlated with mental illness, addiction, disability, and primary health care challenges, NEDHSA’s Integrated Care model incorporates housing, food, education, transportation, workforce development, and prevention and wellness strategies.
NEDHSA’s model also includes working collaboratively with regional education, business, faith-based, veterans, seniors, and regional city municipalities and parish governments.
“We will meet people where they are,” Dr. Sizer said. “We will be innovative and continue to use multiple population health strategies to help improve behavioral and primary health outcomes in Louisiana’s Delta.”