New Mobile Mammography Coach with 3D Imaging Arrives at CHI Memorial


The MaryEllen Locher Breast Center at CHI Memorial has a new mobile mammography coach with 3D imaging.  This new mobile coach replaces the original mobile coach that is more than 15 years old.  An anonymous local foundation and proceeds from Pink! 2020 generously provided the money to purchase the new coach with the latest technology in imaging available.

“Tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography, takes multiple images of the breast from different angles that create a 3-dimensional picture of the breast.  All those images make it easier for the radiologist reading the mammogram to spot small cancers sooner, especially in women with dense, or thick, breast tissue,” says Jessie Varnell, MD, director of imaging, MaryEllen Locher Breast Center.  “Having 3D mammography on the new mobile coach will allow us to take this newest technology to women who otherwise might not have access it.”

The MaryEllen Locher Breast Center’s mobile coaches travel thousands of miles each year, so more women can receive high-quality, essential breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings. “Our mobile coaches go to churches, health departments and clinics, and private businesses here in Chattanooga and our surrounding communities. They remove a common barrier many woman face of not having the time or a way to travel to get a mammogram,” says Brittany Hennessee, breast services manager, MaryEllen Locher Breast Center. “The mobile coaches make it very convenient to get this important cancer screening. Finding breast cancer early usually means shorter and less invasive treatments, as well as better outcomes.” The mobile coaches serve 13 counties in Eastern Tennessee and five counties in North Georgia.

In 2020, nearly 2,600 mammograms were performed on the MaryEllen Locher Breast Center’s mobile coaches.  Twelve women who had mammograms on one of the mobile coaches were diagnosed with cancer during 2020. 

MaryEllen Locher Breast Center has four locations – CHI Memorial Hospital Chattanooga, CHI Memorial Hospital Hixson, Ooltewah Imaging Center, and CHI Memorial Parkway in Ringgold – as well as the mobile coaches.  More than 25,000 mammograms were performed at the MaryEllen Locher Breast Center locations in 2020.

The MaryEllen Locher Breast Center recommends women have a mammogram every year starting at age 40, or earlier for women with additional risk factors. Women should continue getting mammograms as long as life expectancy is at least 10 years. To schedule a mammogram at any MaryEllen Locher Breast Center location, call 423.495.4040.  A physician referral is not necessary to schedule a mammogram.

To learn more about the MaryEllen Locher Breast Center, visit