Centocor Wellness Program Includes Mobile Mammography Van

October 1, 1995

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.

MALVERN, Penn-Centocor, Inc., a biotechnology company specializingin cancer products, has launched a major new employee wellnessprogram, including breast cancer screening with a mobile mammographyvan. The program was initiated after company representatives attendedthe Industries' Coalition Against Cancer (ICAC) conference inFt. Lauderdale this spring.

The coalition, founded by the journal Primary Care & Cancer,Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, Glaxo, Inc., and Merck & Co., is anorganization of health-care products manufacturers, cancer centers,and voluntary health organizations dedicated to promoting cancereducation and screening in the workplace.

Coalition organizers told attendees that they would be callingon them 6 months after the end of the conference to check on progress,and Centocor decided not to let them down. "We're puttingour money where our mouth is," said Bruce Carroll, managerof government relations at Centocor.

The company initiated its Healthwise program for its 350 employeeswith a month's worth of daily activities. Putting it all togetherhas been challenging, said benefits specialist Sandra Faragalli."When you start a program for the first time, there are somany 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 cafeteriato provide a healthy entree every day. As an incentive to selectthe low-calorie, low-fat entrees, the purchaser's name is enteredin a raffle each time one is bought, and every 11th entree isfree. Vendors also visit the cafeteria to give out samples oftheir nutritious products.

Stretching and massage are also being featured in the cafeteriacourtesy of nearby Great Valley Health Club. Noontime seminarshave covered such topics as stress management, cardiac health,and men's health. Another big hit was the September 20th walk-a-thonin which about 150 employees, including Centocor president andCEO David Holveck and other top executives, took a lap or twoaround the 1-mile road that snakes through the wooded corporatepark.

Mammography Van Booked Up

On the cancer prevention front, Centocor is not only offeringbreast self-exam classes but also screening mam-mography providedthrough a mobile mammography van, operated as a joint venturebetween Fox Chase Cancer Center and U.S. Healthcare.

The van was booked to capacity for its morning visit to the backparking lot of Centocor, with about 20 women signed up, abouthalf 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 firstmammogram 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 radiologistsfor the unit, originally teamed up with U.S. Healthcare as partof a research project to examine the barriers to getting regularmammograms.

Fox Chase researchers found that the number one barrier was simplyphysicians 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 theirnetwork physicians. Whereas only 30% of the age-eligible membershad screening mammo-grams in 1987, today over 90% are being screened.The mobile van has helped overcome the accessibility barrier.