Johanna Garibaldi On Strengthening Cancer Prevention Tactics With Mobile Screening Clinics


Johanna Garibaldi, BSN, RN, EMT-P, discusses how a mobile clinic improved cancer screening rates among local firefighters.

Johanna Garibaldi, BSN, RN, EMT-P, joins Oncology Nursing News® to discuss how mobile clinics can improve cancer prevention initiatives in high-risk populations.1

Garibaldi is a nurse navigator with the University of Miami Firefighter Cancer Prevention and Wellness Clinic. During the 48th Annual Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Annual Congress, Garibaldi presented a poster on her institution’s Firefighter Cancer Initiative Mobile Clinic. The poster received a Team Achievement Award from ONS.2

As outlined in the poster, firefighters have a approximately a 9% increased risk of receiving a diagnosis of cancer.1 Further, firefighters have a 14% higher mortality rate from cancer than the general population. However, as Garibaldi notes in her interview, firefighters do not always want to come in for their routine screenings. Therefore, her team sought to bring screenings to them. Their objective was to design a mobile clinic that was cost-effective, convenient, and use an evidence-based approach to increase health care access for this high-risk population. After obtaining funding, the team partnered with a local fire department to implement the mobile screening program.

The clinical workflow was simple. Laboratory samples were collected and the annual physicals were completed on the mobile clinic. The consequent screenings and tests were ordered and completed at the firefighter’s location of choice, and follow-up was conducted via telemedicine. If a referral to a specialist was appropriate, the nurse navigator would help coordinate. The team was comprised of clinical operations specialists, a collaborating physician, a nurse practitioner, and a registered nurse.

Ultimately, 151 out of 219 firefighters (approximately 70%) underwent screening from January 2022 to June 2022. Ninety-five percent of these visits were new patient visits, yielding an increase in patient volume that was greater than 200%.

According to the study authors, the use of the mobile clinic is an innovative and effective model to overcome barriers to care in high-risk populations. Moreover, Garibaldi notes the clinic allows nurses to create screening awareness in spaces where they may not normally be able to access.

“We know that prevention is key: early screening, early detection changes lives,” she says. “So, it is very important for me to be able to teach about it and create awareness."

  1. Green A, Garibaldi J, Schaefer N, MacIntire J, Thomassen A, Kobetz E. The firefighter cancer initiative’s mobile clinic: a healthcare delivery model for cancer screening and prevention in the fire service. Poster presented at: 48th Annual Oncology Nursing Society Congress; April 26-30, 2023; San Antonio, TX. Accessed May 23, 2023.
  2. ONS honors 14 recipients with annual awards at its 48th annual ONS congress in San Antonio, TX. Oncology Nursing Society. May 9, 2023. Accessed May 23, 2023.
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