Kim Melcher, coordinator, Wisconsin Well Woman Program, State of Wisconsin

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), an estimated one third of the cases of cancers could be prevented with proper screening. Kim Melcher stays motivated by knowing there are women in need who do not have access to lifesaving cancer screenings.

Melcher works as a coordinator for The Wisconsin Well Woman Program, which serves women between the ages of 45 and 64 who are under-insured or have no insurance. The program provides mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, and other related treatments.

Melcher manages 380 cases in suburban Milwaukee County alone. She works on several projects to make sure the invaluable resource stays available for the women that need it. She works with health care staffing colleagues across several health care systems to connect those she serves to treatment resources when the need arises.

“Many women are not keeping up with their health, and this program makes it easier to get a hold of essential health care services,” Melcher said.

The program brings necessary screening services in a more familiar or comfortable setting, making the fear of discomfort less of a worry.

With early detection, survival odds increase by 20 to 25 percent. Tests such as a mammography are close to 90 percent accurate in detecting breast cancer and on average can detect a breast lump an average of 1.7 years before it can be detected by self-examination.

While direct health care services are provided to participating women through public funds, Melcher also works with private resources such as the Margo Olmstead Care fund and the Southeastern Regional Breast Care Fund to cover other costs of the local program.

The Wisconsin Well Woman Program has partnered with Milwaukee FM 106.1 FM deejay, Karen Dalessandro, to help increase access to health care screenings. Together, they have created a program called “Check up for Chicks.” “The event is put together in order to support women, for women. After partnering with the radio station, awareness for our program has gone up dramatically,” Melcher said.

Melcher was nominated to be a Health Care Hero by Ginny Finn, executive director of After Breast Cancer Diagnosis (ABCD).

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