Fight CRC’s State Advocacy: The Catalyst Program


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“It is my profound belief that our most powerful weapon as advocates is our stories”

– Mary Schmid, mother and caregiver, Bella Vista, AR

Since Fight CRC’s founding, we have been dedicated to empowering advocates to share their stories and have a seat at the table where policies are made. To date, we’ve focused mostly on the federal level, but we figured, why stop there? 

My experience at Call-on Congress has proven to me that the deeply personal examples of the statistics can change hearts and minds of federal government officials in making policy for their constituents,” Mary shared. “I’m looking forward to experiencing that same victory at the state level.” 

Mary Schmid, pictured with her daughter, Robin, stage IV CRC fighter

We couldn’t agree more, so we started the Catalyst State-by-State Advocacy Program

What is the Catalyst Program?

The Catalyst Program is Fight CRC’s advocacy program to support policy efforts at the state level with a focus on increasing access to colorectal cancer (CRC) screening. Founded in 2019, the Catalyst Program provides funding, technical assistance, and resources to support grassroots activities, coalition building, and policy change at the state level. 

In our first year, grantees worked to increase access to CRC screening by advancing policies to:

  • Ensure coverage for CRC screening beginning at age 45
  • Remove patient out-of-pocket costs for follow-up colonoscopies following a positive non-invasive CRC screening test.

First Year in Review 

Fight CRC awarded grants to four states: Arkansas, California, Colorado and Louisiana. Despite the challenges brought about by COVID-19, we still were able to make great progress towards increasing access to CRC screening in our first year.  

In just one year:

  • Arkansas advocates educated key legislators and the governor about the importance of increasing access to CRC screening and were able to increase funding for the state CRC screening program by $50,000.
  • California advocates identified a committed lead sponsor and introduced legislation to remove out-of-pocket costs for colonoscopy following a positive non-invasive screening test.
  • Colorado advocates introduced and passed legislation through the House to ensure CRC screening at age 45 and to remove out-of-pocket costs for colonoscopy following a positive non-invasive screening test.
  • Louisiana advocates began engaging a group of some of the largest health insurers in the state to encourage them to implement policies to increase access to CRC screening.

“The Catalyst program has given us best practices from across the country for  the fight against colorectal cancer through policy.  In addition, we learned from the successes and struggles that had taken place in other states. For example, we became aware of the language being used in legislation that had successfully passed in other states.”

– Michael Keck, Grantee, Arkansas Government Relations Director, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network & Catalyst Grantee

We’re Just Getting Started!

Our grantees in Arkansas, California, Colorado, and Louisiana have big plans to build on their success. We’re also expanding the Catalyst Program to more states…

Our 2021 state grantees are Kentucky, Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Texas! We are so excited to support more states and have even more success in year two. 

How Do I Get Involved?

As Catalyst grantee Michael Keck shared, “the passion and stories of advocates are always powerful in shaping public policy.” State policymakers, just like federal policymakers, need to hear from advocates about the policies that affect the cancer community. 

Do you live in a Catalyst grantee state and want to get involved? Email us at and we’ll connect you with the people leading the effort in your state.  

Don’t see your state on the list? Don’t worry! The Catalyst Program isn’t in all 50 states yet, but just because your state isn’t a grantee, doesn’t mean you can’t get started. 

Sign up to be an advocate to get the latest info on the Catalyst program and check out our advocacy web portal to find information on colorectal cancer in your state, webinars featuring advocates who have successfully advanced legislation, and fact sheets on our legislative priorities. 

Disclosure: Fight Colorectal Cancer does not recommend or endorse any specific physicians, products or treatments even though this information may be mentioned on this site. Fight CRC has received sponsorships and grants from Exact Sciences, Epigenomics, Quest, Medtronic, and other screening test manufacturers. Fight CRC maintains full editorial rights to all educational content.

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