2014 News

Initiative Moves Forward with Key Hire

July 8, 2014

Breast Cancer Partner  has been chosen to manage an intensive state-wide initiative addressing breast care disparities among African American women. The initiative’s goal is to navigate 2,000 rarely or never-screened African American women to a medical home and to motivate them to seek regular mammography moving forward. As Project Manager, Breast Cancer Partner will lead and oversee the collaborative partners to address breast health and breast cancer disparities in the African American population in California, and advocate for issues affecting breast health access for the African American population.

This state-wide initiative—the first of its kind in Susan G. Komen history—will enable Komen to coordinate and deliver the following program elements: community organizing, direct education, screening and navigation services, targeted marketing and awareness.

Breast Cancer Partner was founded in 2010 by Rhonda M. Smith who is a six-year breast cancer survivor and a business and marketing consultant. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the State-wide Initiative and play a key role in reversing the trend in the breast cancer disparities and outcome for African Americans here in California. What we are doing in California is epic and has the potential to impact the lives of women nationally as well,” said Smith.

“Breast Cancer Partner was chosen to lead this ground-breaking work for its proven track record of designing and implementing results-oriented programs,” said Katie Parker, executive director of Susan G. Komen in Inland Empire. “When found in its earliest stages, breast cancer has a survival rate of nearly 98 percent. But a woman has to get a mammogram in order to catch breast cancer early. We needed a partner who shared our vision and passion for this work, with the depth and breadth of experience to ensure that we achieve the goals of the initiative and Breast Cancer Partner, led by Rhonda M. Smith, was the clear choice”, said Katie Parker.

Circle Of Promise

June 11, 2014

Susan G. Komen® California Affiliates Launch Statewide Initiative Focusing on African American Women’s Breast Health


Los Angeles, Calif. (June 11, 2014) —Today, the seven Susan G. Komen Affiliates in California joined together to announce an intensive, two-year, statewide initiative focusing on African American women’s breast health. During a news conference with medical, community and media leaders, it was announced that Komen’s California Affiliates will collaborate on a best practice model to address breast cancer disparities at both the system and individual levels, specifically focusing on African American women who are rarely or never screened, low-income, uninsured or recipients of Medi-Cal.

Across the nation, white women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer, but African American women are 41 percent more likely to die from breast cancer. And in Los Angeles, the mortality rate is an astonishing 70 percent higher. For women without health coverage, the burden is even greater – uninsured women have a 30 to 50 percent increased risk of dying from breast cancer than those with insurance.

This Komen initiative in California seeks to serve diverse, underserved communities with high breast cancer mortality rates by providing community organization and direct education, as well as enabling screening and navigation services, and targeted marketing and awareness.

“All women and men, regardless of race, ethnicity, place of residence or socio-economic status, should be empowered to take personal action and access appropriate breast health services. However, many women still face barriers to screening, diagnosis and treatment services,” said Judith A. Salerno, M.D., M.S., Susan G. Komen President and CEO, who spoke at the press conference in Culver City. “Through innovative ideas and collaboration, Komen’s California Affiliates will make a significant impact on the lives of women and men across the state, and ultimately, save lives.”

This statewide initiative, a first for Komen, began as a successful pilot program in Los Angeles and Orange Counties, both of which were funded through grants from the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation. In his remarks at the press conference, Komen Los County Affiliate Executive Director Mark Pilon said, “This alarming trend of higher mortality in the African American community, the likely result of compounding social, cultural, financial and geographic barriers, is simply unacceptable in light of the overall improvement in breast cancer mortality rates since the 1990s. We knew we needed to stand together to change this disparity. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation for their continued and longstanding partnership with Komen, and for their recognition of the need for continued progress.”

“We are so pleased to be part of an effort that will proactively work to reach women in their communities with valuable information about breast health awareness,” said Pam Kehaly, President of Anthem Blue Cross/West Region & Senior Vice President of Specialty Businesses. “We know that when we can arm women with health information and help improve access for screenings and diagnostic services we empower women to take control of their health.”

When found in its earliest stages, before is has spread beyond the breast, breast cancer in the United States has a five-year relative survival rate of 99 percent. But a woman has to have access and utilize the appropriate screening tests in order to find breast cancer early – that’s what this initiative is all about. Komen’s seven California Affiliates will work together to address breast cancer disparities through efforts with both health care systems and individuals, specifically targeting African American women who are rarely or never screened, low-income and uninsured/underinsured women, as well as recipients of Medi-Cal. The initiative’s goal is to help 2,000 rarely or never-screened African American women to find a medical home, and to motivate them to seek regular breast cancer screenings moving forward.

Support for the Susan G. Komen® Circle of Promise California Initiative is made possible in part by a grant from the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation, L.L.C.

About Susan G. Komen in California: Every year, the seven California Affiliates of Susan G. Komen fund vital breast health services for women and men across the state. This year the Affiliates will invest more than $5.5 million in 110 grants in communities across the State. Seventy-five percent of every dollar raised by Komen in California funds local breast health outreach, education, diagnostic and treatment services for uninsured and underserved women. The remaining 25 percent goes to the Komen Global Research Fund, the largest funder of breast cancer research in the world, after the U.S. government. For more information, please visit www.CaliforniaCircleofPromise.org.

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