National Mammography Day: Supporting Quality Mammography

By: Marsha B. Henderson, M.R.C.P. and Helen Barr, M.D.

Like millions of women, we go each year to get a mammogram. For us the experience is not just about healthy living. It is also a reminder of the value of our hard work at FDA. Each time we see the FDA certificate in our mammography facility showing that the facility meets FDA’s high standards, we are reminded of the commitment and dedication of FDA employees to supporting mammography services.
Marsha B. Henderson, M.R.C.P. and Helen Barr, M.D.

Marsha B. Henderson, M.R.C.P. (left) and Helen Barr, M.D.

Under the Mammography Quality Standards Act and Program, FDA employees work to ensure that women can go anywhere in the country and expect to get reliable, high quality breast images. We certify and inspect mammography facilities establishing uniform standards for mammography equipment and staff training. Thanks to these efforts, there are over 8,600 certified mammography facilities in rural and urban communities across the country.

We didn’t stop there. Early on, we realized that regulation was only part of what was needed. FDA recognized that it should also help raise awareness about the importance of mammography. Through the Pink Ribbon Sunday Program, we formed outreach partnerships to teach women the facts about mammography screening. When the Pink Ribbon Sunday Program began in the 1990s, we targeted African American and Latino women because they were least likely to get a mammogram. However, the program quickly spread from minority churches to businesses, sororities, health centers, and other national organizations reaching women from all backgrounds.

Over the years, FDA has touched millions of lives through our mammography initiatives. We have chosen today – National Mammography Day – to thank our colleagues at FDA and our partners in the health care community and state and local governments for their efforts.  We also encourage you to help connect the women in your community to our free mammography resources. Your efforts can help raise awareness, provide hope, and maybe even save a life.

Marsha Henderson, M.C.R.P., is FDA’s Assistant Commissioner for Women’s Health in the Office of the Commissioner

Helen Barr, M.D., is FDA’s Director of the Division of Mammography Quality Standards at the Center for Devices and Radiological Health