Addressing Health Disparities

On February 29, just a few days before COVID-19 began changing the landscape of our daily lives, a group of volunteers gathered in the parking lot of the Burien Goodwill to run a mobile mammogram screening for women in the local community.

Owing to the fact that the Goodwill store was recently remodeled leaving only one room available for events and another group had already reserved the room, the group worried how they would run the screening, especially the intake process. That is when GoNorth RV stepped in with a loaner RV for patient intakes.

That day the group served 19 women. The country of origin for these women included Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru. There was one woman in her 30’s, 13 in their 40’s, and 5 in their 50’s. Seventeen women received 3D screening mammograms and two were referred to Swedish for diagnostics. These women were thankful that the screening was on Saturday and early in the day so they could attend and not miss work.

One of the women, a single mom, recently had a car crash into her house, and into the bedroom where she ended up under the car. Due to all the issues resulting from the accident, she lost her job and has no insurance. Her 11-year-old son was traumatized and they were both sleeping the garage since the bedroom was uninhabitable. She was afraid to pursue the case because of her status. The team was able to connect her with some free legal services!

It takes a team to make these screening events possible including GoNorth RV Rental, Joanna and Alba, the Swedish staff, Grace, the medical provider, Yvette, our interpreter, Martha, Ingrid, and Erik, our amazing volunteers, and finally Katherine from Goodwill, who allowed us the use of their parking lot.

These screenings meet women where they are – right in the community and are a vital part of the work Komen Puget Sound funds annually. The team is looking forward to resuming these mobile screenings once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.