Over the last 10 years, the Carol Milgard Breast Center (CMBC), a nonprofit breast imaging and diagnostic center, has been a leading provider for breast care services throughout Pierce County. Since 2009, the partnership between Multicare Health System, CHI Franciscan and TRA Medical Imaging has provided critical screening and diagnostic services for tens of thousands of patients each year. They have also made outstanding efforts in early diagnostic and preventative breast care for women. But without the contributions of its founding Medical Director, Dr. Khai Tran, CMBC may never have opened its doors. Now, the center has established the Drs. Khai and Jackie Tran Endowment to honor the visionary efforts of Dr. Khai Tran and his wife Dr. Jackie Tran.

Dr. Khai Tran served as the Carol Milgard Breast Center’s Medical Director from its opening in 2009 until his retirement in 2017. During his tenure, Dr. Tran led the organization in creating a multidisciplinary approach to breast care that would streamline wait times for test results and services. As early as 2007, Dr. Tran recognized the need to shorten wait times for breast imaging results. Dr. Tran remembers, “Women were having to wait up to six or eight weeks from their first screening mammogram to getting their final cancer diagnosis…That waiting time is excruciating. And not just for the woman, but for her family and everyone close to her.”

Carol Milgard Breast Center
With a focus on early detection, breast cancer education and community outreach, CMBC looks forward to continuing Dr. Tran’s vision in his absence: fighting against cancer one patient at a time. Photo courtesy: CMBC

To address this concern, Dr. Tran took an extraordinary step. He approached two of the region’s leading healthcare providers – Multicare Health System and CHI Franciscan – to share his vision for a partnership that would centralize breast care services across the South Sound. By pooling their resources, Dr. Tran envisioned a state-of-the-art center that would improve care and accelerate the diagnostic process for women. Dr. Tran’s practice, TRA Medical Imaging, would play a key part in the collaboration between the two healthcare systems, offering patients high quality imaging and mammography services.

With the partnership underway, Dr. Tran approached the Gary E. Milgard Family Foundation to share the plans for a breast diagnostic center that would serve as a regional hub. After hearing the news, the Foundation Trustees awarded the organization a generous seed grant of $5 million. The new center was named for Carol Milgard, a long-time philanthropist, community activist and breast cancer survivor.

Under Dr. Tran’s leadership, CMBC grew to be a thriving organization that serves around 45,000 patients each year. But despite the center’s tremendous growth, Dr. Tran’s colleagues recall that he never lost his sense of compassion for the individual patient. Executive Associate Barbara Fox remembers, “Despite the exceptionally high number of patients that are seen annually at the breast center, Dr. Tran’s mantra has always been ‘one patient at a time.’” As Dr. Tran saw it, “Every patient is unique, every patient deserves the best care, and it is a privilege to serve each person that comes to the center.”

Funds from the Drs. Khai and Jackie Tran Endowment will strengthen CMBC’s mission-based programs and allow the center to expand services and outreach. Many of CMBC’s programs focus on patient access and equity, and the new endowment will continue to lend support to these efforts. Funds will assist in paying for procedures and exams for low-income and under-insured patients, ensuring that they are able to receive care regardless of ability to pay. It will also fund outreach efforts for African American, Latina and Pacific Islander patients, as well as underwrite the costs of writing and translating educational materials into patients’ native languages.

Carol Milgard Breast Center
Photo courtesy: Carol Milgard Breast Center

CMBC tends to patients’ spiritual and emotional needs through a variety of programs, many of which will receive support from the Drs. Khai and Jackie Tran Endowment. The endowment will sustain important partnerships likes CMBC’s FaithHealth in Action, which works alongside African American, Hispanic and Pacific Islander church leadership to promote knowledge about breast and prostate health. In addition, the new endowment will provide funds for CMBC’s Spiritual Care services, including the on-site chaplain who attends to patients of all faith traditions. Funds will also go towards the Bridging Care program, designed to help newly diagnosed patients get treatment and support.

Thanks to Dr. Khai Tran’s instrumental role, the Carol Milgard Breast Center is able to provide critical services to tens of thousands of patients each year. If you are interested in supporting the center’s mission or giving directly to the endowment, please contact them at 253-759-2622. More information about their programming is available at their website.

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