• Program for Medically Underserved Women in Toledo Launched by Susan G. Komen for the Cure® with the Support of KeyBank Foundation

    August 29 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

    TOLEDO, Ohio August 29, 2012 – A unique program that provides one-on-one outreach and support to minority and medically underserved women launches in Toledo today. Susan G. Komen for the Cure, with the support of Key Bank Foundation, gathers community leaders for a Regional Breast Health Summit and begins training more than two dozen Komen Community Health Advisors for the Toledo area.

    The Toledo launch is the fifth in 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 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 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.

    “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.”

    “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 James Hoffman, president of Key’s Michigan/Northwest 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 Toledo area. Featured panelists at the Summit include:
    • Jan Ruma, MED, CFRE, Executive Director of Toledo-Lucas County CareNet
    • Terry Pietryga, MD, JD, Medical Director of the Toledo Mercy Women’s Center
    • Robin Shermis, MD, MPH, Medical Director of The Toledo Hospital Breast Care Center
    • Iman Mohamed, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine, Chief/Hematology and Oncology, Associate Dean of Admissions, University of Toledo

    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.

    Minority Health Issues
    While African American women in Northwest Ohio over the age of 40 are diagnosed with breast cancer at a significantly lower rate (65.23 versus 101.87), their mortality rate from breast cancer is nearly equal to that of their Caucasian counterparts (25.26 versus 27.57). Projects funded through Komen Northwest Ohio’s Community Grants program work hard to diminish this disparity.

    An estimated 37 percent of women 40 and over in Lucas County have gone without a mammogram in the last 12 months. Komen Community Grant projects work 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 free/low cost mammography screenings through Toledo-Lucas County CareNet, Mercy, ProMedica and University of Toledo. In 2011, grants from the Northwest Ohio Affiliate of Komen funded 864 screening mammograms and 336 diagnostic procedures of medically underserved women in Lucas County.

    “The importance of education on vital screening services is already being demonstrated here locally in Northwest Ohio,” said Mary Westphal, executive director of the Komen Northwest 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.”