April 12th Breast Health Summit Kicks Off Community Health Advisor Training Program
$1 Million Grant from KeyBank Foundation Funds Breast Cancer Education and Support in 18 Communities
CLEVELAND, OH. – April 4, 2012 – More than 110,000 minority and medically underserved women in Northeast Ohio and across the nation will soon have new health resources through a landmark program that trains volunteers to provide breast cancer education and healthcare support in local communities.
The Susan G. Komen Community Health Advisor program kicks off April 12 in Cleveland with a Komen Regional Breast Health Summit of influential health and community leaders, followed by the initiative’s first training session for 50 community volunteers. Funded by a $1 million grant from KeyBank Foundation, the program will expand to 18 KeyBank communities over the next two years.
This community-based initiative is in keeping with Komen’s focus on lowering death rates from breast cancer in minority and medically underserved populations.
“A woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes, and one woman will die of breast cancer every 13 minutes in the U.S.,” said Beth E. Mooney, KeyCorp Chairman and CEO. “Its impact is especially devastating for women of color, who are more likely to die from breast cancer, and for poor or uninsured women. Our investment in this innovative program reflects our corporate diversity vision and is just one way we give back to the communities where the people of Key live and work.”
The Regional Breast Health Summit will focus on improving access to quality breast health services for uninsured, low-income and medically under-served women in Cleveland. Featured panelists at the Summit include:
• Brian Bolwell, MD, Chairman of Taussig Cancer Institute at the Cleveland Clinic;
• Ron Fountain, MBA, DM, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, The MetroHealth System;
• Giesele Greene, MD, CMCE, FACP, Sr. Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Sisters of Charity Health System, and
• Nathan Levitan, MD, MBA, President of Seidman Cancer Center and Senior VP of System Cancer Services, University Hospitals.
After the summit, 50 local volunteers will begin training as community health advisors who will educate and provide critical support to women facing breast cancer. This includes linking underserved women to health services in the area, and providing one-on-one consultations, appointment scheduling assistance and support during healthcare visits.
The initiative will grow during 2012 and 2013 to train more than 520 advisors in 18 cities: Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo in Ohio; Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse in New York; Indianapolis, Indiana; Denver, Colorado; Tacoma, Bellevue and Bellingham in Washington state; Bonita Springs, Florida, and Portland, Oregon.
“Bringing lifesaving information and resources to women who fall through the cracks in our healthcare system has always been one of our most urgent and important goals,” said Nancy G. Brinker, Komen Founder and CEO. “It’s a tragedy that still today, so many women are unaware of their risk for breast cancer and lack access to resources, treatment and care. KeyBank’s commitment to building this community initiative brings us all closer to the ultimate goal of a world without death from breast cancer.”
Minority Health Issues
While African American women in Northeast Ohio over the age of 40 are diagnosed with breast cancer at a significantly lower rate (92.57 versus 126.57), their mortality rate from breast cancer is nearly equal to that of their Caucasian counterparts (29.83 versus 30.69). Projects funded through Komen Northeast Ohio’s community grants program, such as the Mammogram Connection program offered through Northeast Ohio Neighborhood Health Services (NEON), work hard to diminish this disparity.
Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Latinas nationwide, and Komen Northeast Ohio has been partnering for years with Metro Health in funding their B.R.E.A.S.T Amigas Unidas program reaching out to the Hispanic population.
“The importance of peer-to-peer education and support is already being demonstrated here locally in Northeast Ohio,” said Sophie Sureau, executive director of the Komen Northeast Ohio Affiliate. “The need for these programs is growing all across the country. The support from KeyBank Foundation is integral to show how impactful these programs can be and hopefully inspire additional like-minded initiatives that target the most vulnerable populations that need these services the most.”
KeyBank and its employees have a long history of actively supporting the Komen Northeast Ohio Affiliate, which was honored by the global breast cancer organization as the 2009 Affiliate of the Year.
In 2010, KeyBank was a platinum sponsor of the Susan G. Komen Northeast Ohio Race for the Cure® and helped generate more than $100,000 to support the organization. That amount included the efforts of 375 Key Corporate and Community Bank employees, friends, family members and clients who joined Team “KeyBank – Unlock the Cure” and raised more than $60,000 through grassroots fundraising, including race pledges, events, matching gifts and more.
“Our people are very enthusiastic in their support of Komen and are looking forward to September, when Team ‘KeyBank – Unlock the Cure’ will be a big part of this year’s Race for the Cure,” said Mooney. “Across the country, other KeyBank districts are also making great strides in their partnerships with Race for the Cure events, including Denver, where employees created a team through their Key Executive Women’s Network.”