Statement on Race + Health Equity from Komen KSWMO

At Susan G. Komen Kansas + Western Missouri, we work to End Breast Cancer Forever  – for some members of our community, the reality is a bit harsher than for others.  Inequalities in our health care systems have been long known – and now COVID-19 has shown a spotlight on those racial disparities that lead to worse outcomes.

After reflecting this past week on the horrific injustice and racist actions resulting in loss of life – we’ve thought a lot about how we can take action.  How can we be a part of the solution to end the systemic racism that has long existed in our country?  At Susan G. Komen Kansas + Western Missouri – our part will be to address Health Equity.

Underlying everything we do – if we don’t have equity in the health of our community – how can we possibly achieve our mission to end breast cancer forever?

That’s why I want you to know our next step following yesterday’s global pause to understand, listen and acknowledge that there is a problem.  We launched in 2019, an African American Breast Cancer Mortality Taskforce to address the horrific mortality rates from breast cancer for African American women in our region.  We are also leading a Missouri Cancer Consortium Breast Workgroup to address racial disparities in health equity with our partners across the state.

How can you help take action?  I ask you to do the following things:

  1. Hold us accountable.  The only way to create change – is to demand it and follow through.  We are pledging this to you.  We won’t stop until we improve the survival rates of African American women in our region.
  2. Call Your Legislator today (June 3) to Encourage Passage of Medicaid Expansion (if you live in Kansas): Medicaid Expansion is one BIG step toward removing barriers that exist in health equity.  The Kansas Legislature meets in a special session today.   You can find a list of your legislators here.
  3. VOTE on August 4th (if you live in Missouri): Medicaid Expansion is on the ballet in Missouri and will be up for a vote on August 4th.  One of the biggest actionable items we have in front of us to improve health equity is to expand access to care through Medicaid. Find your Polling Station here.
  4. Invest in Us:  Consider donating to our efforts as we continue to work on health equity in our region.

I am looking forward to having discussions with you on actionable ways we can find resolve.

With sincerity,

Erica Terry
Chief Executive Officer + Executive Director