Komen Philadelphia Hosts African-American Leadership Forum for Breast Health Equity


 On January 24, 2018 more than 50 respected influencers expected to attend the organization’s African-American Leadership Forum for Breast Health Equity and put the wheels in motion for eliminating the breast cancer mortality gap

Susan G. Komen® Philadelphia is once again demonstrating what makes them the local leader in the breast cancer movement by taking the initiative to establish powerful partnerships focused on ending the “deplorable” situation for African Americans when it comes to breast cancer survival. Our first-ever African-American Leadership Forum for Breast Health Equity, will bring together top breast cancer healthcare providers and activists with approximately 50 leaders from the local government, social service and corporate communities. Together, these groups will bring about a deeper understanding of the dynamics driving the devastating state of breast cancer for African Americans in the Philadelphia region and nationwide make, as well as outline—and commit to pursuing—immediate, aggressive strategies aimed at reversing the situation.

In addition to mobilizing influencers to help Komen Philadelphia find, connect with and motivate thousands of “women in the shadows” who have yet to implement lifesaving breast health practices, we will help these activists access the training, tools and education needed to make a measurable impact on increasing breast cancer survival among this underserved population.

Why this event is critical.

Nowhere is the need for health equity more critical than in the African-American community:

  • African-American women are about 40 percent more likely to die of breast cancer than white women in the U.S.
  • Philadelphia ranks number nine on a list of U.S. metropolitan areas with the highest rates of breast cancer mortality and late-stage diagnoses among African Americans
  • While 63 percent of Caucasian women are diagnosed with breast cancer at the local, more successfully treatable stage, this is true for only 52 percent of breast cancer diagnoses in African-American women.

“Even with overall breast cancer mortality rates on the decline, it’s estimated more than 6,300 black women die of breast cancer every year,” said Elaine I. Grobman, CEO, Komen Philadelphia. “In the 28 years Komen Philadelphia has been in existence, we have reached huge populations of African-American women who made the lifesaving changes they needed to make. But there are still thousands in our own neighborhoods that remain in the shadows. Komen Philadelphia has gone very deep to reach these women and bring them into regular screening protocols. We’re doing everything possible—along with the support of our community grantees and health partners—to break down those lingering barriers, and connect these women with free services, and quality services. We will never give up on them. This mobilization of African-American leaders demonstrates that. We are leveraging their connections, resources and influence to take us deeper and help us make lifesaving connections.”

In attendance at the Forum

  • Approximately 50 leaders/influencers in the African-American communities in Philadelphia and surrounding neighborhoods. Leaders represent local governments, concerned corporate citizens and community service organizations, particularly those focused on at-risk African-American populations.
  • Elaine I. Grobman, CEO, Susan G. Komen® Philadelphia
  • Shyrea Thompson, Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives, Susan G. Komen®
  • Breast healthcare professionals respected as being the top in their field


  • Edith P. Mitchell, MD, FACO, FCPP, Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine and Medical Oncology, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. Associate Director for Diversity Programs and Director of the Center to Eliminate Disparities, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Mitchell also served on the Blue Ribbon Panel during former Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot initiative.
  • Frank J. Rauscher, III, PhD, Professor, Gene Expression & Regulation Program; Deputy Director of the Cancer Center, Wistar Institute. Dr. Rauscher’s father was designated as “the first General in the war on Cancer” by former president Richard Nixon.
  • Ari D. Brooks, MD, Chief of Endocrine and Oncological Surgery; Director of the Integrated Breast Center, Pennsylvania Hospital
  • Thomas L. Hardie, EdD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, Adjunct Full Professor, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania
  • Meryl Weinreb, Chair of Education and Public Policy, Komen Advocate in Science, Past Board Member and Education Chair, Komen Philadelphia, breast cancer survivor

If you are interested in participating in this initiative, please contact Elaine at 215-238-8900.




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