Susan G. Komen Chicago Commits $787,500 in 2020 to Decrease Breast Cancer Mortality Gap, Increase Access to Care for Communities of Greatest Need


Susan G. Komen Chicago Commits $787,500 in 2020 to Decrease Breast Cancer Mortality Gap, Increase Access to Care for Communities of Greatest Need

Chicago’s leading breast cancer organization makes groundbreaking investment in its mission through funding The Chicago Health Equity Initiative, Komen Chicago Treatment Assistance Program and Local Community Grant Programming

CHICAGO (October 29, 2020): In recognition of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Susan G. Komen Chicago is proud to announce a substantial commitment to initiating change in healthcare access for all Chicagoland women. In 2020 alone, the organization has committed $787,500 to advancing health equity for all and demolishing the racial disparities gap — a 68 percent increase in funding year over year.

“Although we’ve seen the breast cancer mortality rate decline in recent years, these benefits have been disproportionate and there is still evidence of a mortality gap between black and white patients nationally, with African American women 42 percent more likely to die from the disease,” said Dr. Tiosha Bailey, executive director of Komen Chicago. Also, in Chicago, African American women are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than white women; for African American women aged 40 and under, the disparity increases to 157 percent. 

“It is imperative to offer genetic counseling and testing to this demographic, especially here in Chicago, which is why Komen Chicago’s ability to commit this funding, while in the midst of a pandemic, is monumental for our community,” added Bailey.

Komen Chicago’s investment into the local community will help transform direct services and healthcare systems. Of the total investment:

  • $400,000 is committed to Chicago Health Equity Initiative (CHEI), a cohort of Chicago-area medical leaders who support healthcare systems’ transformation. In leading this cohort’s formation, Komen Chicago is evolving from exclusively funding breast health services to working collaboratively with a broad spectrum of partners to implement measurable and sustainable solutions that improve care and decrease costs. This is the first funding investment of its kind for Komen Chicago and the largest community investment made in the affiliate’s history.
  • $350,000 is funding local community grant programming that provides direct patient services for navigation, screening/diagnostic, and survivorship support programs in Komen Chicago’s five-county service area, including a strategic investment in McHenry County to help target the late stage breast cancer diagnosis rate identified in this area.
  • $37,5000 supports the Komen Chicago Treatment Assistance Program that provides patients who are in treatment with financial and psychosocial assistance programs to help reduce barriers and increase survival rates.

Komen Chicago has convened the following partners for CHEI: three Federally Qualified Health Centers (Access Community Health Network, Erie Family Health Centers and Friend Family Health Center), six major health systems in Cook County (Cook County Health and Hospital System, University of Chicago Medicine, University of Illinois Cancer Center, Rush University Medical Center, Northwestern University Cancer Center and Sinai Health System), the Illinois Medical District, American Cancer Society and Chicago Department of Public Health. The CHEI implementation plan is currently being developed, with services scheduled to begin in 2021.

The University of Illinois (UI) Cancer Center at UI Health has been designated as the Komen Chicago Lead in the CHEI consortium. The UI Cancer Center’s community-facing mission and commitment to promote health equity and eradicate cancer disparities in Chicago communities and beyond make it an ideal lead partner.

“Not only will CHEI work tirelessly to decrease health disparities across our city, but we will be firm advocates for education and access for all by raising awareness of these key initiatives to our community members and neighbors,” said CHEI director, Dr. John H. Stewart from UI Cancer Center.

“We are so proud to bring together this revolutionary consortium of Chicago’s top medical leaders to create actionable change within the systems of our current healthcare structure,” said Dr. Suzet McKinney, president of Komen Chicago’s Board of Directors and CHEI partner representing the Illinois Medical District. “We have three key goals at hand — decrease breast mortality disparities across Chicagoland, reduce the detection-to-diagnosis interval, and increase the number of high-risk women under age 40 who receive genetic screening.”

“Through CHEI, we will work to implement genetic counseling and testing in the primary care setting to increase early detection of breast cancer,” said Dr. Olufunmilayo I. Olopade, Director of the Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics & Global Health and Medical Oncologist at the University of Chicago Medical Center. “The sooner we can detect signs of breast cancer, the sooner we can begin treatment and lower breast cancer mortality across the board.”

Since 1997, Komen Chicago has invested over $18.5 million in local community grants and $6 million in breakthrough research. The organization has reaffirmed its continued mission of investing 100 percent of net proceeds back into local community grantmaking and research initiatives for more than two decades. In the coming months, Susan G. Komen’s national headquarters is moving forward with plans to consolidate all Komen affiliates into One Komen.

“As a result of the current climate, changes must occur to maintain Komen’s national commitment to preventing and curing breast cancer. Komen Chicago is working with the national team to ensure a strong local impact remains for Chicago-area women,” added Bailey.

For more information on Komen Chicago, its programs and the Chicago Health Equity Initiative, please visit

About Komen Chicago

Susan G. Komen’s promise is to save lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer. Komen Chicago donates 100 percent of net funds raised to community grants and global research. Komen Chicago’s priorities include making sure everyone has access to quality healthcare options, fighting to ensure fewer people die from metastatic breast cancer and shining a light on the importance of early detection. For more information visit

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