• March 25, 2022

PRESS RELEASE  MAR 25, 2022 09:00 EDT

Educating community residents about the importance of screening and early detection of Colorectal Cancer as part of Whittier’s efforts to promote health equity.

Whittier Street Health Center (WSHC) has received funding from Stand Up To Cancer® (SU2C) to increase awareness and screening of colorectal cancer in underserved communities of color in Suffolk county. This initiative establishes a new Colorectal Cancer Program at Whittier that will focus on the importance of early screening and proven strategies to reduce and prevent colon cancer.

According to the 2020 DATA REPORT on Colorectal Cancer in Massachusetts, colorectal cancer is the most commonly diagnosed and the third cause of cancer deaths among men and women in the state. From 2012 – 2016, the highest incidence rates were observed among Black non-Hispanics, followed by white non-Hispanics, Asian non-Hispanics and Hispanics. The statewide screening rate is 74.6% and there are screening disparities across the state.

With funding from SU2C, WSHC will host specialized colorectal cancer workshops for staff on clinical guidelines and protocols on screening options. Community-based outreach, promotion and education will present the importance of screening and preventative measures as well as lifestyle changes to prevent colorectal cancer. Smoking cessation, limiting alcohol intake, routine exercise, and healthy diet, and maintaining healthy weight will be emphasized.

Frederica M. Williams. President and CEO said, “Whittier has been a champion of health equity for decades, and has worked diligently to provide innovative, culturally sensitive, high-quality health care and social services to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health care and the social determinants of health. Our deep dedication to closing the high mortality and morbidity rates in the minority, low-income and immigrant communities, and our innovative programs and strong outcomes demonstrate our capacity to close the gap in colorectal cancer-related issues.”

“It’s imperative we take a collaborative, community approach in addressing cancer disparities in the Greater Boston area,” said Jennifer Haas MD, MSc, at Massachusetts General Hospital and leader of the SU2C Colorectal Cancer Health Equity Dream Team. “Our research team looks forward to working with Whittier Street Health Center to raise awareness and increase screening rates of this preventable disease.”

Whittier Street Health Center is a community health care center with a mission to serve as a center of excellence that provides high quality, and accessible health care and social services that achieve health equity, social justice, and the economic well-being of our diverse patient populations. Whittier is accredited by The Joint Commission, certified by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Patient-Centered Medical Home, and is recognized by the NCQA for its Behavioral Health Integration. Through its locations in Roxbury and North Dorchester, and its Mobile Health Van Program. Learn more at


A note about Whittier and COVID-19

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in our area, we ask all clients and patients to call ahead before coming to any of our sites. We are working to take care of most clients/patients via phone/video encounter so we can meet your ongoing healthcare needs. This is for your safety and so we can provide the highest quality of care to you while following CDC guidance for COVID-19. Please call 617-427-1000 for any questions or concerns.

Whittier will provide COVID-19 testing from 10 am to 4 pm on Monday to Friday. Following CDC guidance, we recommend testing if you have a fever AND one of the following three symptoms: cough OR shortness of breath OR sore throat. Please bring your picture identification and your insurance card (if you have insurance).