Empower Her

Organization Information:

Organization Name:
The Rose
City & State:
Organization Website:
Organization's Mission Statement

The mission of The Rose is to reduce deaths from breast cancer by providing screening, diagnosis and access to treatment to women regardless of their ability to pay.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

The Rose was founded in 1986 by two women, a local surgeon (Dr. Dixie Melillo) and a hospital marketing director (Dorothy Weston Gibbons), who shared a passion for life and women’s issues. Dr. Dixie Melillo’s main concern was saving lives. She had seen too many advanced breast cancers and had watched too many women lose the battle. Dorothy Weston Gibbons’ passion was the value of women. If a woman could be convinced that she was worth the cost of a mammogram, then she’d believe she was worth anything. Both witnessed working women with no insurance trying to feed and clothe dependent children. These were women who after discovering a lump in their breast, would procrastinate because they could not afford to see a doctor. This delay was too often fatal. The Rose was created to fill this gap in medical services.


The Rose started twenty-three years ago in a small 900 sq. ft storefront, with donated furnishings and mammography equipment, a staff of two and volunteer leadership driven by a unwavering belief that no woman should die of breast cancer because she cannot afford a mammogram or treatment. Today, 23 years later, The Rose has grown to two community-based comprehensive diagnostic facilities and a citywide Mobile Mammography program serving Harris County and six adjacent counties.


The Rose’s mission is to reduce deaths from breast cancer by providing screening, diagnosis and access to treatment to women regardless of their ability to pay. Offering a full range of breast cancer screening and diagnostic services including mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsies, breast-specific gamma imaging and access to treatment, The Rose is one of the leading breast cancer diagnostic facilities in the Greater Houston area. The Rose has also become the primary organization providing services at no charge to working poor, low-income, uninsured women.


The Rose offers a full continuum of care for breast cancer needs to the insured and uninsured. Medical procedures available at The Rose include screening, ultrasounds, diagnostic work-ups, biopsies, Breast Specific Gamma Imaging, physician examinations and, if needed, access to treatment. Meeting patient breast health care needs to those who cannot afford the costs of these potentially life saving procedures is the EmpowerHer® Sponsorship Program, a patient-centered program.


Developed in response to women needing support services and treatment beyond screening and diagnosis, The Rose’s award- winning EmpowerHer® Sponsorship Program has been nationally recognized as a model for serving the uninsured. The program starts with our Patient Navigators, estimated to navigate close to 8,000 women this year from all walks-of-life through the healthcare maze. The Rose is unique in that it offers no-cost treatment in addition to free screening mammograms and diagnostics through the Empower Her® Sponsorship Program. The program is estimated to provide more than 15,000 services to uninsured women at no charge in FY 2008-2009. Because of this caring community, the Physician Network volunteers have provided over 6,000 medical services for the uninsured at no cost, valued at nearly $3 million dollars.


When the EmpowerHer® Sponsorship Program launched, demographic information on clients was maintained on paper files. Today, a sophisticated Microsoft access patient activity tracking system, EmpowerHer® Database, allows us to accurately capture and report data in a timely manner.


Other non-profit organizations in the country engaged in activities related to offering women access to breast health care were in search for an efficient tracking patient software system. Their searches lead them to The Rose. They have purchased The Rose’s EmpowerHer® Patient Activity Tracking System software to better serve the needs of their patients.


Until recently, The Rose used MS Office 97, which hindered our business on multiple levels. Microsoft had ceased support of Office 97; there were no updates, no technical support, nothing, crippling The Rose. The Empower Her® database created using Access 97 was now an obsolete product. Although MS promoted an upgrade path for new features, enhancements, fixes, compatibility with other MS products, etc. The Rose was not able to take advantage of those items. Building and promoting an application (EmpowerHer) on outdated, unsupported software was not an option for The Rose.


In March 2009 The Rose upgraded their own 85 computers to MS Office 2003, of which approximately 15 use the EmpowerHer® database on a daily basis. We now have an IT Roadmap that projects regular and timely upgrades to the MS software used within the company, so future upgrades are expected. The upgrade was a solution for our users enabling them to provide accurate and timely information to foundations, corporations and the community. We now have the capability to accurately track our clients from point of entry.


This upgrade has enhanced the effectiveness of our daily business enabling us to optimize services to

diverse populations unencumbered by geographic limitations and change the lives of countless women and their families, giving them hope for the future.




Submission Category
Optimize Mission Delivery
Project Image
Supporting Work Files