Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center Opens
New Facility Serves Alta Bates Summit Medical Center Patients
SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 25, 2008 - One of the most anxious times a woman can have is the interval between finding a lump or abnormality in her breast, the necessary diagnostic testing, and awaiting confirmation of either breast cancer or a clean bill of health.
Alta Bates Summit Medical Center is opening the Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center – a new service completely dedicated to reducing that anxiety to the shortest possible turn-around-time.
In sharp contrast to the general mode of breast health, the new $13 million Carol Ann Breast Health Center provides women with the newest diagnostic technology as well as expedited appointments and results – all in one beautiful center dedicated exclusively to women’s breast health. The new breast center will see its first patient on Monday, March 10 and host a dedication and open house on Tuesday, April 15.
Finding breast cancer in its earliest stage can save a life. Now, for the first time, East Bay women will have a breast health center dedicated to expediting the delivery of test results and providing expert, comprehensive services for breast health and diagnostics – all under one roof.
Alta Bates Summit’s new center will be a national model for community-based patient care and the first center in the East Bay for comprehensive breast cancer detection, diagnosis and support. These specialized services, caring environment and individualized programs will benefit tens of thousands of Bay Area women every year.
After ten years of planning, fund raising and research, the long-awaited vision has become a reality: an 11,000 square foot center that offers the next generation in technology and seamless delivery of service – distinguishing it from other breast centers in the area.
Services will include: digital mammography (the only East Bay center to offer this important diagnostic technique), stereotactic core biopsy, ultrasound and ultrasound core biopsy, nurse navigation services, high risk assessment program, expedited evaluation program, second opinion service, peer support services, bone densitometry, breast MRI and MRI directed biopsy, and clinical research in cooperation with major institutions throughout the country.
The new facility will centralize and integrate state-of-the-art clinical and imaging services, expedite the evaluation of any breast abnormality and offer patients the opportunity to participate in research studies. With the capacity of performing more than 40,000 per year breast exams per week, the center is staffed by practitioners whose specialty is breast health, diagnostics and imaging. Numerous studies have shown that fast test results and the earliest possible treatment all contribute to the best chance of surviving breast cancer. More than two dozen Alta Bates Summit cancer specialists – including surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists – will be consultants to the Breast Health Center.
Two Alta Bates Summit physicians have dedicated their careers to fighting breast cancer – surgical oncologist Lisa Bailey, MD, and radiologist Ira Kanter, MD. Now they are seeing their long-envisioned dream – a national model for breast health and diagnosis, come to life.
According to the breast center’s medical director, Lisa Bailey, MD, “Alta Bates Summit had always provided very good breast health care for patients at both of our campuses, but at times the process could become fragmented because of multiple locations.
“From the look and feel through the design, the diagnostic capabilities, to the services and programs and the investigator-initiated studies – an enormous amount of time, study and planning has gone into this center,” Bailey said.
Radiologist Ira Kanter, MD, Breast Imaging Director, brings more than 40 years of experience, the last 15 in breast imaging. Under Dr. Kanter’s direction, over 100 examinations per day will be performed: Mammograms, both screening and diagnostic (if something abnormal should be identified).
Because we know breast cancer will affect one in eight women in the US…early detection is the key to survival. If breast cancer is detected early enough, more than 95 percent of women can be treated successfully. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women and the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in the US.
The Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center is also well-equipped to serve the entire community. According to Lin Vautrain, manager, of the Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center, “In response to the rich diversity of our community, we offer patients a variety of breast cancer navigation services that are culturally and linguistically appropriate navigation services for the breast health patient. Spanish and Asian language-speaking patient navigators and support groups are offered at the new Breast Health Center.” The Chinese language support group is one of the only groups of its kind in the area.
Throughout the planning and design of the new Breast Center, staff worked closely with Breast Health Access for Women with Disabilities (BHAWD), a program of Alta Bates Summit since 1995, to facilitate accessible health services for women with disabilities. “We examined the blue prints to ensure that the exam rooms and exam tables, waiting area, and equipment are accessible,” says Florita Toveg, BHAWD manager.
Ask anyone who’s been treated for breast cancer and they’ll tell you that counsel and support from survivors is invigorating, informative, inspirational—in short, invaluable.
Peer Support Programs
Alta Bates Summit Medical Center’s program offers to pair newly diagnosed patients with women who are at least a year out from treatment. The program builds on that one-to-one philosophy and, since its founding in 2004, has served more than 150 women and enjoyed resounding success. “It’s called COMPASS—Compassionate Peer Advocacy and Support Services,” says Vautrain, who along with nurse practitioner Kathleen Colloton, R.N., W.H.N.P., runs the program.
After training, each volunteer is matched with patients – primarily based on type of treatment and age.
The program start-up costs were funded by several donor groups and individuals in the community
Lin says “COMPASS has been a wonderful program that benefits survivors who want to ‘give back’ in a meaningful way and helps the newly diagnosed patient who wants to talk to someone who has experienced breast cancer and treatment.”
Seed money for the $13 million Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center was made possible through a challenge grant from the Read family of Orinda and its Otter Cove Foundation. “Their gift was the turning point in making this breast center a reality says Dr. Bailey. “Through their generosity, we were able to approach others to match their gift. It was a critical component in moving the project forward.”
Carol Ann Read was an Alta Bates Summit patient who died of breast cancer in 1997. After her death, her husband Peter began working with the Alta Bates Summit Foundation to raise funds to develop a comprehensive breast center dedicated to expediting the delivery of test results and expanding the services available for breast health.
Another important source of funding for the center was a cooperative effort between the Friends of Faith and Alta Bates Summit. The success of their “Leap of Faith” dinner has resulted in the creation of “Faith’s Place,” celebrating the life of friend, colleague, patient and former KTVU reporter Faith Fancher.
The new facility cost over $13 million, and in addition to the Read Family, construction was made possible through the generosity of many people in the East Bay who contributed to the Alta Bates Summit Foundation. The project is the single largest philanthropic beneficiary of donations to Alta Bates Summit Medical Center since its formation in 1999.
Interior Design – A Healing Environment
Well known designer, Jain Malkin & Associates worked with Ratcliff, the architectural firm, to transform a space that had housed teaching areas into the beautiful, healing environment that will be the new center. Malkin is known for her ‘healing design’ work in a number of major facilities, including southern California’s Scripp’s Comprehensive Breast Center. From a beautiful skylight, muted greens and small glass tiles to the fanciful mobile in a children’s area…the focus of the center is to calm and care.
Also opening next to the new breast center in the Providence Pavilion is a new Family Resource Center that will serve as a respite from the day to day challenges of caring for a loved one. The Center also provides a source for health related information to patients, family and the community. The Resource Center will also be the new home for the Markstein Cancer Education and Prevention Services – well known for a wide variety of services such as community cancer screenings, support groups, education and seminars.
Drs. Bailey and Kanter agree that one of the emotionally important components of the new Carol Ann Read Breast Health Center is the people. “In a dedicated breast center like this one will be – every single person in the center – from the parking attendant to the registration staff and the clinicians – we are all dedicated to the personal care and recognition of each woman’s needs and possible anxiety level,” says Dr. Kanter. “From the moment a woman walks through the door – she will know she is in the hands of experienced, compassionate and caring people.”