Susan G. Komen Announces $27 Million Health Equity Initiative to Reduce Breast Cancer Deaths in African-American Community

10-City Initiative Complements Komen’s Decades-Long Service to
Medically Underserved

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Susan G. Komen breast cancer organization gathered philanthropic,
civic, medical and business leaders in Washington today to formally
launch a $27 million,10-city initiative to reduce breast cancer death
rates among African-American women.

“African-American women are almost 40 percent more likely to die of
breast cancer than white women in the U.S. and in some cities, that
number is as high as 74 percent. That makes this a public health crisis
that must be addressed immediately,” said Komen President and CEO Dr.
Judith A. Salerno. “We are deeply appreciative of friends and partners
who are working with us to do so.”

Salerno thanked the Fund II Foundation and its president Robert
F. Smith for the $27 million grant that made the Komen
African-American Health Equity Initiative
possible. “This
investment in women’s health will truly save lives,” Salerno said.

Smith said at the event today that the breast cancer initiative ties
strongly to Fund II’s priorities. “The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King
said that the biggest injustice one can find is really in health care,”
he said. “The Fund II Foundation is focused on – among a number of
pillars – helping to decrease that disparity and level the playing field
in health care and treatment for African-American women.”

Komen’s African-American Health Equity Initiative initially
targets 10 U.S. cities where mortality rates and late-stage diagnosis of
African-American women are highest. The goal: to reduce the mortality
gap by 25 percent within five years of beginning work in each city. The
Initiative will expand across the country.

Joining Smith and Salerno were Jeri Lacks Whye, patient advocate
and granddaughter of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman whose
cancer cells were taken without her permission before her death in 1951
and used for research for decades, and Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall,
chief medical officer and executive vice president of Pfizer.

The panel today reflected Komen’s collaborative approach to the Health
Equity Initiative, an approach Whye called critical. “Community
engagement is the foundation that allows you to speak with people
suffering from breast cancer disparities,” she said. “It starts a
conversation that can lead to real results.”

Lewis-Hall stressed the importance of African-American participation in
clinical trials. “Why do more of us need to get involved in clinical
trials of potential new breast cancer treatments? Because we have so
many great scientific opportunities right now and so many questions.
These questions will only be answered for us, by us,” she said.

Today’s formal launch of the African-American Health Equity Initiative
comes one day after Komen announced a broader 10-year plan to reduce
current U.S. breast cancer deaths by 50 percent in 10 years. Komen’s
“Bold Goal” strategy focuses on health equity for all medically
underserved individuals, and an enhanced focus on research into
aggressive and metastatic breast cancer.

More on the African-American Health Equity Initiative

The initial targeted cities are Memphis, Tenn., St. Louis, Mo., Dallas,
Los Angeles, Virginia Beach, Va., Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Washington,
D.C. and Philadelphia. Baltimore and Detroit have been identified as
high-priority areas as the program expands over the next year.

The African-American Health Equity Initiative complements the
work that Komen and its network of 100 U.S. Affiliates already do to
remove barriers to cancer care. Komen and Komen Affiliates support
thousands of local programs that provide screenings, treatment
assistance, emergency financial aid, medical supplies and living expense
for underserved individuals.

The organization has invested more than $2 billion over 34 years for
these programs aimed at uninsured, underinsured, and medically
vulnerable populations.

“We will never waver from our commitment to remove barriers of language,
geography, economics or culture for all people facing this
disease. Every woman or man must be able to access and receive
high-quality breast health and breast cancer care, and be supported
through their treatment and into survivorship,” Salerno said.

Click this link
for more on the Susan G. Komen African-American Health Equity Initiative.

For more information on Komen’s Bold Goal, visit or Komen’s
Bold Goal link.

About Susan G. Komen®

Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization,
funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit outside of
the federal government while providing real-time help to those facing
the disease. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded more than $920
million in research and provided more than $2 billion in funding to
screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs
serving millions of people in more than 30 countries worldwide. Komen
was founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G.
Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life. Visit
or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at

About Fund II Foundation

Fund II Foundation makes grants to 501(c)(3) public charities in five
areas: 1) preservation of the African-American experience, 2)
safeguarding human dignity by giving a voice to the voiceless and
promoting human rights 3) improving environmental conservation and
providing outdoor education that enables people of all ages and
backgrounds to enjoy the numerous benefits of the great outdoors 4)
facilitating music education, particularly in primary and secondary
schools, to nourish both the mind and the soul 5) and sustaining the
uniquely American values of entrepreneurship, empowerment, innovation
and security. For more information on Fund II Foundation, visit


Susan G. Komen®
Andrea Rader, 972-855-4382