LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - Dec 5, 2012) - The Los Angeles County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® announced today that funding has been provided thanks to a generous grant from the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation. The Anthem grant furthers the mission of the Komen Community Partnership: to decrease breast cancer mortality among African American women in the Greater Long Beach area by increasing breast health awareness and mammography screening behavior. The Komen Community Partnership is a coalition of key community members lead by Komen Los Angeles County and Komen Orange County that works to decease the disparities in access to quality and affordable breast health care among African American women.
As part of this initiative, the "Patient Navigator" position was created and filled to provide patient advocacy, navigation, and coordinated referral services throughout the entire continuum of care for un-insured and under-insured African American women of greater Long Beach. The position is a joint initiative of the Los Angeles County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and St. Mary Medical Center. The goals of the Patient Navigator position are to: link 350 women to breast cancer screenings, track 100 women to diagnosis and enter the Continuum of Care and engage 6,000 women with breast cancer messages.
Over the coming year in California, it is estimated that there will be 23,445 new cases of breast cancer. Over 25 percent of all new breast cancer cases (5,905) are estimated to occur in LA County. While African American women are less likely than the general population to get breast cancer, they suffer worse outcomes:
- High late state diagnosis rates
- Highest overall rate of death
- Younger African American women have lowest survival rates
Generous grants from businesses like Anthem Blue Cross Foundation are critical to help meet the ongoing needs of women facing breast cancer. Improvements in breast health awareness and improved access to screening, diagnostic, and treatment services are crucial to eliminating the disparities faced by African American women.
"This grant is a significant step in helping address the issues facing African American women as it relates to breast cancer," said Mark Pilon, Executive Director for the Los Angeles County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen. "These funds from Anthem Blue Cross Foundation have been used, in part, to hire a dedicated Patient Navigator to serve African American women in the greater Long Beach area."
"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 Anthem Blue Cross. "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."
About Susan G. Komen Los Angeles County
Since its inception 16 years ago, the Komen Los Angeles County Affiliate has raised over $9.2 million for local grantees. Komen LA County's emphasis is on funding programs that close the gap in breast cancer disparities for underserved individuals living in Los Angeles County and which provide vital health and breast cancer services to thousands of individuals this year alone including:
- diagnostic services to approximately 1,006 people,
- patient navigation services to approximately 3,240 people,
- psychosocial support services to approximately 110 people, and
- breast health education to over 800 people.
A major focus of the Komen Los Angeles County Affiliate is to help uninsured and underinsured women and men who have symptoms of breast cancer and are facing barriers to accessing health care, particularly women and men under 40. Of all breast cancer foundations, Komen is the only organization where 75% of the net proceeds stay in the communities where they are raised. The remaining 25% of the net funds raised support Komen's National Grant Program, which is regarded as the most innovative and responsive grant program in breast cancer research.
About Anthem Blue Cross Foundation
Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Association promotes Anthem Blue Cross's inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that the company serves. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company's annual associate giving campaign and its parent foundation provides a 50 percent match of associates' campaign pledges. ANTHEM® is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross names and symbol are registered marks of the Blue Cross Association.