Komen Chicago’s Commitment to Advancing Health Equity

An Open Letter from Komen Chicago Executive Director, Dr. Tiosha Bailey


October 29, 2020

Dear Komen Supporter,

As we wrap up breast cancer awareness month, I wanted to share some important updates as well as my sincere gratitude with our amazing community. Even in the midst of a pandemic, thanks to our amazing supporters, we were able to host our first ever virtual Race for the Cure this past weekend. We had over 800 virtual participants succeed in raising over $220,000.

Thanks to events like our Race for the Cure, Susan G. Komen Chicago is proud to announce an impressive commitment to initiating change in healthcare access across Chicagoland. In 2020 alone, the organization has committed $787,500 to advancing health equity for all and demolishing the mortality disparities gap — a 68 percent increase in funding year over year.

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 the Chicago Health Equity Initiative (CHEI), a cohort of Chicago-area medical leaders who support the transformation of healthcare systems. In leading the formation of this cohort, 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/diagnostics, 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.
  • $37,500 is supporting 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, UI 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. CHEI will be overseen by lead partner UI Cancer Center. 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.

With turbulent times also comes change. And it’s important to draw your attention again to notable changes coming our way impacting Komen Chicago. Due to these challenging and unprecedented times, our Susan G. Komen’s national HQ is moving forward with plans to consolidate all Komen affiliates into One Komen. This is a model that serves many other non-profits well and makes good sense in a changing philanthropic environment. While there remain many details to work out, know that we are working with the HQ team to ensure a strong local impact remains.

In just the past five years, together with your support, we have:

  • Reached 74,919 individuals through our Community Partners
  • Funded 16,584 Breast Cancer Screening Services leading to 2,271 Breast Cancers Detected
  • Achieved a 5-Yr Cancer Detection Rate of 13.69%
  • Navigated 11,461 women to breast health services along the continuum of care

We are so proud of all our Chicagoland Community has accomplished together and we look forward to what our future holds. You are our friends and neighbors; you are our Komen Community. We are proud to serve you with love, hope and equity for all.


Dr. Tiosha Bailey

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