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Program for Medically Underserved Women in Akron Launches with KeyBank Foundation and Susan G. Komen for the Cure®

May 3 Breast Health Summit Kicks Off Community Health Advisor Training Program for Low-Income and Uninsured Women
$1 Million Grant from KeyBank Foundation Funds Breast Cancer Education and Support in 18 Communities

AKRON, Ohio April 26, 2012 – A unique program that provides one-on-one outreach and support to minority and medically underserved women launches in Akron May 3, when KeyBank Foundation and Susan G. Komen for the Cure gather community leaders for a Regional Breast Health Summit and begin training more than two dozen Komen Community Health Advisors for the Akron area.


The Akron launch is the second in Northeast Ohio and  the U.S..  Nationally, the program will train more than 500 community volunteers to provide breast cancer education and support to minority and medically underserved women in cities served by KeyBank and Komen, the world’s largest breast cancer organization. Funded by a $1 million grant from KeyBank Foundation, the program will expand to serve more than 110,000 women in 18 KeyBank communities over the next two years.

This community-based initiative, which officially kicked off in Cleveland April 12, is in keeping with Komen’s focus on lowering death rates from breast cancer in minority and medically underserved populations.


“Breast cancer is diagnosed every two minutes, and a woman dies of breast cancer every 13 minutes in the United States,” 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 community health 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.”

“Ohio is among the top five states for breast cancer mortality,” said Jeffrey C. Douglas, president of Key’s Eastern Ohio District. “That’s why an initiative such as this is crucial to encourage early detection and treatment.”


The Regional Breast Health Summit will focus on improving access to quality breast health services for uninsured, low-income and medically underserved women in the Akron area. Featured panelists at the Summit include:

• Heidi M. Eve-Cahoon MSN, CNP, Breast Care Coordinator, Summa Health System;
• Melonie Michelson MA, Program Coordinator, D. Gary Benfield Regional Fetal Treatment Center, Akron Children's Hospital;
• Dr. Jessica Partin MD, Co-Medical Director, Breast Health Center, Akron General Hospital;
• Jeffrey C. Douglas, President, Eastern Ohio District of KeyBank, and
• Lee and Kathy Giller, male breast cancer survivor and co-survivor.


After the summit, 25 local volunteers will begin training as community health advisors who will educate and provide critical support to women facing breast cancer.

The initiative will grow during 2012 and 2013 to train more than 500 advisors in 18 cities: Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo in Ohio; Albany, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse in New York; Indianapolis.; Denver; Bonita Springs, FL.; Tacoma, Bellevue and Bellingham in Washington, and Portland, OR.

“Susan G. Komen has worked for 30 years to reach the most vulnerable women in our society with information and support that could save their lives,” 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 Muffins for Mammograms program offered at Akron General Medical Center (AGMC), work hard to diminish this disparity.


An estimated 35 percent of women 40 and over in Summit County have gone without a mammogram in the last 12 months. AGMC works to reduce barriers preventing women from gaining access to life saving services by educating women on positive breast health practices and the importance of early detection. This education, in turn, allows women access to AGMC’s free/low cost mammography screenings. In 2011, their outreach program provided 750 screening mammograms and potential follow-up care to women who were uninsured, underinsured, and/or representative of minority populations. 


“The importance of education on vital screening services 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 education programs can be and hopefully inspire additional like-minded initiatives that target the most vulnerable populations that need these services the most.”  


KeyBank’s Commitment
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 eagerly 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.”