May 04, 2020 3:00 PM


Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah is deploying its Cancer Screening and Education Bus to assist with COVID-19 testing. Beginning today, the bus will target areas where rates of COVID-19 positive tests indicate a need for additional testing. This effort is in collaboration with University of Utah Health (U of U Health) and in coordination with local and community partners.

Since its debut last fall, HCI’s Cancer Screening and Education Bus has provided mammography to more than 1,000 women, most of whom identify as low-income and underserved. Last month, HCI made the difficult decision to suspend routine cancer screenings, which included pausing mobile breast cancer screening. This decision was made to reduce the community spread of COVID-19, protect health care staff, and conserve personal protective resources.

Now, HCI is stepping up to assist in a unique way during this unprecedented time. The 45-foot-long mobile unit has been temporarily outfitted with special equipment to help with COVID-19 specimen processing and storage.

“We are honored to support these critical efforts and find new ways to serve our community,” said Don Milligan, MBA, executive director of HCI’s cancer hospital at U of U Health. “Redirecting some of our resources to better serve the immediate needs of individuals and families is the right thing to do at this unprecedented time. It extends our collective commitment to improving the health of all Utahns.”

“University of Utah Health has established many COVID-19 testing locations with the goal of reaching as many residents as possible,” said Richard Orlandi, MD, chief medical officer of ambulatory health for U of U Health. “We are grateful to Huntsman Cancer Institute, who for over two decades, has been a trusted partner in our community. We are excited to begin this new collaboration with a strategic approach to provide resources and testing to some of our most vulnerable communities.”

Additional collaborators include ARUP Laboratories, the Utah Department of Health, the U of U’s David Eccles School of Business, and U of U Health’s Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.

People experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should call U of U Health’s coronavirus hotline at 801-587-0712 for an initial phone screening. This call will determine if a patient should be evaluated by a health care professional using virtual urgent care or needs to be tested at one of U of U Health’s testing sites.

Media Contact

Ashlee Harrison
Public Relations – Huntsman Cancer Institute
public.affairs@hci.utah.edu
801-585-1954

covid-19 coronavirus

About Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah

Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah is the official cancer center of Utah and the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Mountain West. The campus includes a state-of-the-art cancer specialty hospital, and two buildings dedicated to cancer research. HCI provides patient care, cancer screening, and education at community clinics and affiliate hospitals throughout the Mountain West. HCI is consistently recognized among the best cancer hospitals in the country by U.S. News and World Report. The region’s first proton therapy center opened in 2021 and a major hospital expansion is underway. HCI is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment for staff, students, patients, and communities. Advancing cancer research discoveries and treatments to meet the needs of patients who live far away from a major medical center is a unique focus. More genes for inherited cancers have been discovered at HCI than at any other cancer center, including genes responsible for breast, ovarian, colon, head and neck cancers, and melanoma. HCI was founded by Jon M. and Karen Huntsman.

Cancer touches all of us.

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