(HARTFORD, Conn.) – The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Connecticut Affiliate has awarded an $18,000 grant to the Breast Health Outreach Program at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center.

The Breast Health Outreach Program targets low-income African-American and Hispanic women, as well as medically underserved women living in Hartford. The program connects these women with breast cancer prevention, screening and educational services early, thereby reducing breast cancer mortality.

Saint Francis’ program includes outreach to energy assistance clients of the Community Renewal Team (CRT), and to women in churches and community centers as well as local grocery stores and hair salons.

“We are also planning to work with the Connecticut Department of Correction to reach women returning to the Hartford community as well as those incarcerated in Niantic,” said Kristen Zarfos, M.D., Medical Director of the Comprehensive Breast Health Center at Saint Francis. “We are excited to be able to reach out to the community to take positive, proactive steps to reduce the toll of breast cancer.”

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Connecticut Affiliate supports programs that reach women who are traditionally underserved. “Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center’s Breast Cancer Outreach Program does just that,” said Pauline R. Kezer, President of Komen Connecticut. “Komen Connecticut funds programs that cover the ‘gaps’ in service and services that provide education, screening and treatment for breast cancer. Our grants are based on data updated in our community profile that looks at what is and is not needed in breast cancer in Connecticut. We are proud to be associated with Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, and applaud the work they do.”

Three individuals are now trained in the program, which is expected to serve 100 women a month. During October’s observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the program served 323 women in Hartford.

Saint Francis currently provides breast health diagnostic services to 9,000 women yearly, with 2,500 to 3,000 women receiving additional surgical services through the Comprehensive Breast Health Center.

For more information on the Breast Health Outreach Program, call (860) 714-5439.

Founded in 1897, Saint Francis is licensed for 617 acute inpatient beds and 65 bassinets and is the largest Catholic hospital in New England.