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Governor Whitmer Announces Innovative Partnership With the United Health Foundation to Expand Testing and Screening


October 15, 2020 

Governor Whitmer Announces Innovative Partnership With the United Health Foundation to Expand Testing and Screening 
LANSING, MI – Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a new three-year, $2.5 million partnership between the United Health Foundation and the Michigan Primary Care Association (MPCA) to develop a pilot program for genetic testing and screening for breast cancer at five Michigan community health centers (CHCs). After the governor proclaimed October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Michigan the American Cancer Society, MPCA will screen additional patients and engage high-risk patients and their family members in genetic testing, with the goals of increasing patient education and screening rates and improving transitions of care.  
“One of the most crucial things we can do to prevent and treat breast cancer is raise awareness and expand access to health care, cancer screenings, and genetic testing,” said Governor Whitmer. “This partnership will make an enormous difference for Michiganders everywhere who have a history of cancer in their families. I am grateful to the United Health Foundation for its generous support and partnership with the Michigan Primary Care Association. I will continue to work closely with everyone who wants to protect and expand access to health care in our state.”  
Michigan is expected to have more than 8,800 new cases and more than 1,380 deaths from breast cancer this year. Genetic testing in combination with genetic counselors and care managers and regular screenings have been shown to be successful in the early detection of breast cancer. The United Health Foundation and MPCA partnership will support expanded services at CHASS – Community Health & Social Services Center (Detroit), Cherry Health (Grand Rapids), East Jordan (East Jordan), Western Wayne (Inkster) and Honor Community Health (Pontiac). 
“Many routine and annual screening appointments have been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Chief Medical Executive and MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “As we observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, it’s important to remember that while we must take precautions to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s also crucial we seek important medical care and regular screenings that can detect cancer before symptoms appear.”