2021 REACH Grant Recipients

Levine Cancer Institute – Access for Screening Patients

Lung Cancer Initiative has awarded a $10,000 REACH grant to Atrium Health, Levine Cancer Institute to support access to care for lung cancer screening patients. The grant will support Levine Cancer Institute in serving patients who are in the process of confirming a lung cancer diagnosis or those with a positive screen with immediate, short-term assistance to help reduce the burden of having to choose between basic needs and their health.

Many of the patients that Levine Cancer Institute sees face difficult obstacles that make it hard for them to live healthy lifestyles. These barriers include food insecurity, lack of transportation to get potentially life-saving medical appointments, and financial hardships that make it difficult to pay living expenses and utilities. This program will act as a bridge to connecting the patient with community-specific resources that will help address long-term needs. 

“Through this amazing grant opportunity, we will be able to support our patients with some of their most immediate basic needs,” said Darcy Doege, RN, BNS, Lung B.A.S.E.S. Program Coordinator at Levine Cancer Institute. “This funding will improve access to food, transportation, and assistance with follow-up medical appointments. We are so grateful to provide patients in 18 North Carolina counties with a resource that will fill a critical gap in care.” 

Levine Cancer Institute, and its commitment to eliminating barriers to top cancer care, led to an innovative solution to help patients who are at high-risk for lung cancer in underserved, low-income, or geographically isolated locations. Mellisa Wheeler, BSW, MHA, Director of the Disparities & Outreach program at Levine Cancer Institute, authored a grant proposal that resulted in the creation of the nation’s first mobile lung cancer screening unit, known as the “lung bus.” Since its launch in 2017, the lung bus has been used to screen more than 1,000 patients, expanding screening in high-risk populations, which lowered the cost of care and saved lives by catching lung cancer early enough to pursue curative therapy. 

“We are aware that patients who experience greater barriers to care will have poorer health outcomes,” said Paige Humble, executive director of Lung Cancer Initiative. “We are pleased to support the Levine Cancer Institute in this important effort to reduce the barriers to lung cancer screening and to potentially improve a patient’s overall health outcome by also meeting basic needs.”