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NCCRT National Achievement Award

NCCRT National Achievement Award

The American Cancer Society National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable (ACS NCCRT), founded in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, honors Unity Medical Center with the 2024 80% In Every Community National Achievement Award under the category ‘Health System’ for their extraordinary work to increase colorectal cancer screening rates across their community.

"We applaud Unity Medical Center (UMC) for their work to raise awareness about the critical need for increased colorectal cancer screening rates in their community,” said Steven Itzkowitz, MD, gastroenterologist with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and NCCRT chair. "Their effort is instrumental in helping reduce the incidence of and mortality from colorectal cancer.”

According to the American Cancer Society, the number of colorectal cancers in the US for 2024 are estimated to be about 106,590 new cases of colon cancer (54,210 in men and 52,380 in women) and about 46,220 new cases of rectal cancer (27,330 in men and 18,890 in women).

Alan O’Neil, UMC CEO shared, “Unity Medical Center is grateful for being recognized as an honoree by the American Cancer Society for our work toward the 80% pledge we signed in October of 2022 to increase colorectal screening rates in our communities in partnership with Quality Health Associates and ScreeND. Through the dedication of the UMC employees, we have been able to increase our rates significantly. We strive to provide our patients and community with top quality healthcare. We would also like to congratulate Mikisha Longie from Belcourt in being named as an honoree.”

The 80% in Every Community National Achievement Awards is a program designed to recognize individuals and organizations who are dedicating their time, talent and expertise to advancing initiatives that support the shared goal to reach colorectal screening rates of 80% and higher in communities across the nation. The awards include one grand prize winner and four other honorees, each of whom receives a monetary award to support continued efforts to increase colorectal cancer screenings. 

Unity Medical Center is a nonprofit critical access hospital with primary care clinics in Grafton and Park River, North Dakota, serving 20,000 people in Walsh County and the surrounding mainly rural areas. In October of 2022, Unity Medical Center developed an ambitious action plan to improve their colorectal cancer (CRC) screening rates from a baseline of 41% to 70% by December 2023. Their plan employed evidence-based interventions such as provider and patient reminders, patient education, internal policy change, standing orders, EHR data and reporting, and improved provider recommendations to patients. Unity Medical Center also participated actively in the North Dakota CRC Roundtable through their provider champion, Dr. Jared Marquardt, the state roundtable chair. As of December 2023, their CRC screening rates have risen to 69% and are still rising. They are most proud of the huge amount of buy in from the staff, who are enjoying their innovative techniques to reach the community by focusing on their patients and unique partners. 

To learn more about the NCCRT, and the 80% In Every Community initiative, visit

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