MALVERN, Penn-Centocor, Inc., a biotechnology company specializing
in cancer products, has launched a major new employee wellness
program, including breast cancer screening with a mobile mammography
van. The program was initiated after company representatives attended
the Industries' Coalition Against Cancer (ICAC) conference in
Ft. Lauderdale this spring.
The coalition, founded by the journal Primary Care & Cancer,
Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, Glaxo, Inc., and Merck & Co., is an
organization of health-care products manufacturers, cancer centers,
and voluntary health organizations dedicated to promoting cancer
education and screening in the workplace.
Coalition organizers told attendees that they would be calling
on them 6 months after the end of the conference to check on progress,
and Centocor decided not to let them down. "We're putting
our money where our mouth is," said Bruce Carroll, manager
of government relations at Centocor.
The company initiated its Healthwise program for its 350 employees
with a month's worth of daily activities. Putting it all together
has been challenging, said benefits specialist Sandra Faragalli.
"When you start a program for the first time, there are so
many bugs to iron out. It's been a pretty overwhelming task,"
Ms. Faragalli said.
Some of her efforts were as simple as working with the cafeteria
to provide a healthy entree every day. As an incentive to select
the low-calorie, low-fat entrees, the purchaser's name is entered
in a raffle each time one is bought, and every 11th entree is
free. Vendors also visit the cafeteria to give out samples of
their nutritious products.
Stretching and massage are also being featured in the cafeteria
courtesy of nearby Great Valley Health Club. Noontime seminars
have covered such topics as stress management, cardiac health,
and men's health. Another big hit was the September 20th walk-a-thon
in which about 150 employees, including Centocor president and
CEO David Holveck and other top executives, took a lap or two
around the 1-mile road that snakes through the wooded corporate
Mammography Van Booked Up
On the cancer prevention front, Centocor is not only offering
breast self-exam classes but also screening mam-mography provided
through a mobile mammography van, operated as a joint venture
between Fox Chase Cancer Center and U.S. Healthcare.
The van was booked to capacity for its morning visit to the back
parking lot of Centocor, with about 20 women signed up, about
half of them getting a mam-mogram for the first time.
"It only takes 10 minutes, and it's right at work,"
Ms. Faragalli said. One employee headed into the van for her first
mammogram shared that sentiment: "I like the availability.
The labs just don't have good hours for working women."
Susan Higman, administrator of the mobile mammography program,
says that Fox Chase, which provides the technicians and radiologists
for the unit, originally teamed up with U.S. Healthcare as part
of a research project to examine the barriers to getting regular
Fox Chase researchers found that the number one barrier was simply
physicians failing to order the tests on women age 50 and older;
number two was lack of accessibility; and number three was price.
U.S. Healthcare responded to these results by educating their
network physicians. Whereas only 30% of the age-eligible members
had screening mammo-grams in 1987, today over 90% are being screened.
The mobile van has helped overcome the accessibility barrier.