Photo courtesy of Microsoft Teams.

Cancer treatment is tough enough. It is even tougher for those who don’t know how they could possibly afford it, find transportation to appointments or arrange for child care during treatments.

For many women in Dallas County, that is their reality. 

“I remember one woman in particular,” said Maripat Hodges, Cancer Program manager at Parkland Health. “We remembered thinking ‘wow,’ this patient’s going to have a lot of barriers getting to appointments and getting her treatment.”

But Hodges and the team only knew what this new patient was up against because a nurse navigator proactively reached out with a simple questionnaire about her circumstances. Questions such as:

“Do you have coverage?”
“Would you like to speak to a financial counselor?”
“Did you realize your coverage is expiring?”
“Do you need transportation or child care?”

All made up unexpected music to the patient’s ears.

“With that connection at the very beginning, our nurse navigator was able to help that patient through,” Hodges recalled. “I actually talked to this patient and her husband, and she was just so thankful to be able to have such an advocate on her side and someone who really understood all the barriers.”

Black women have the highest probability of developing breast cancer and are 40% more likely to die from it than White, non-Hispanic women in Dallas County, according to the 2022 Dallas County Community Health Needs Assessment. To help close that gap, Parkland recently partnered with The American Society of Clinical Oncology and Susan G. Komen to increase early screening for financial coverage for Black breast cancer patients, and early screening for social determinants of health, ultimately improving their access to care.

By improving processes and workflows, Parkland has improved the social determinants of health screening of Black breast cancer patients from 3% to 86%.

“Not only are we able to screen more patients, but then by screening these patients, we actually are able to identify what’s going on with them,” Hodges added. “So it’s a success to be able to say this is really a patient-driven thing. Once we know what they need, we can then figure out how to connect our patients with financial counselors and the other resources they may need.”

To hear the Susan G. Komen “Real Pink” podcast episode on this initiative, visit

Mammograms Save Lives

Parkland’s Breast Health Center is providing no-cost screening mammograms for women in targeted Dallas County ZIP Codes: 75210, 75211, 75215, 75216, 75217, 75241, 75243, 75060, or 75061. If you are 40-years-old or above and have not had a mammogram in the last 12 months, you can schedule it for one the following dates during the months of October and November.

Registration is available online through or call 214-266-3333.

Oct. 28 *Coming Together for the Cure hosted by Parkland Health
Moody Center for Breast Health
5151 Maple Ave.
Dallas, 75235
7 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Nov. 3
Moorland Family YMCA at Oak Cliff
6701 S. Hampton Rd.
Dallas, 75232
7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Nov. 4
Springs Fellowship
817 Holcomb Rd.
Dallas, 75217
7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Nov. 11
Moody Center for Breast Health
5151 Maple Ave.
Dallas, 75235
7 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Nov. 18
C.V. Roman Health Center
3560 W. Camp Wisdom Rd., Ste. 100
Dallas, 75237
7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

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