Cancer Coalition of South Georgia receives Mutual of America award

Cancer screening program based in Albany receives national recognition

ALBANY — The Cancer Coalition of South Georgia’s community cancer screening program has been recognized nationally as a recipient of a Mutual of America Foundation 2013 Community Partnership Award, officials announced earlier this week.

Each year, the Mutual of America Foundation sponsors a national competition in which hundreds of organizations compete to demonstrate the value of their partnership to the communities they serve, their ability to be replicated by others and their capacity to stimulate new approaches to addressing significant social issues.

The Cancer Coalition was selected as one of the top three organizations to receive national recognition from the foundation as well as a $25,000 grant to further its mission, officials said.

The coalition’s screening program serves individuals in 32 counties via partnerships with Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Tift Regional Medical Center, Albany Area Primary Health Care, Primary Care of Southwest Georgia, Southwest Public Health District, South Health District, among others. Representatives from the Cancer Coalition’s staff and board of directors — including Dr. Jacqueline Grant, director of the Southwest Public Health District, Dr. Troy Kimsey, surgical oncologist at Phoebe and Dr. Raymond Moreno, medical director of outreach and education at Tift Regional — recently attended the awards dinner in New York City and participated in the NASDAQ closing bell ceremony.

Denise Ballard, vice president of cancer prevention and control for the coalition, said upon receipt of the award that the organization is particularly honored because the award’s focus is on innovative solutions to complex community challenges.

“Through this award, our successful partnership strategies for increasing cancer screening in vulnerable populations have been shared across the nation. In doing so, we hope to encourage those fighting cancer disparities in their own communities to adopt our innovative approach,” she said in statement.

Cancer Coalition CEO Diane Fletcher also had a few words to say about the honor.

“Another exciting part of the award is the ‘Hometown Celebration’ where we will share this national recognition locally with the communities that we serve,” said Fletcher.

The celebration is slated for spring of 2014 when Mutual of America Foundation leaders will visit the area to commend the Cancer Coalition and its partners, officials with the coalition say.