PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A new initiative is underway that seeks to answer why women of color die from breast cancer at a higher rate than white women.
Breast cancer mortality is nearly 41% higher in black women than in white women in the U.S. Thus, Susan Komen G. Komen Oregon and Southwest Washington has launched the African American Initiative (AAI) — a multi-year project that focuses on reducing the breast cancer disparities between the two demographics. AAI includes leaders from the African American community, male and female breast cancer survivors, organizations that work with the community, and area health systems.
AAI will examine breast health data with the area health systems for average screening rate and time to treatment. Komen said it will also develop interventions to address systemic racism in the health care sector.
“We have to accept that there is racism in our healthcare systems and then find the interventions that we need to address it,” said Tai Harden-Moore, who has battled breast cancer twice as Forever Fighter. “And the way we go about that is talking to breast cancer patients, talking to survivors — talking to them about their experience and giving them a voice in it and really listening to the feedback that they give us.”
Conversations about racism intrenched in the country’s healthcare system have already begun through the Worship in Pink program — a community of various congregations of all faiths in the Portland metro area.
“I think the community piece is so important,” said Harden-Moore. “Especially for the black community, because that’s how we get information. That’s how we share information. We’re very interconnected.”
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