Quantum Foundation Supports Komen Florida Pilot to Change Odds for Women of Color

First-in-Nation Susan G. Komen® Navigation Model Born From Community Input and Need

West Palm Beach, Fla.– Quantum Foundation became the first Palm Beach County community foundation to support the new Susan G. Komen Florida with a $92,000 grant to reduce breast cancer disparity for women of color.  The funding will support the Community-Based Breast Health Navigator Pilot Program, a first-of-its-kind initiative for the global Susan G. Komen organization.

Quantum Foundation’s grant will provide for a full-time community-based breast health navigator in Delray Beach, Florida to provide education and patient navigation services to primarily African American women who are at greater risk for triple negative breast cancer—an aggressive form of the disease—and have a 40% higher mortality rate than white women.  A unique feature of the initiative, and key to its expected impact, is placing the navigator in a community setting rather than a hospital.  The navigator will unite local partners and community resources to create a network of support and education to dispel myths, address cultural barriers, and overcome other hurdles that keep women from seeking preventative care and diagnosis.

Komen Florida examines health disparities in great detail every three years across its service area, which includes 64 counties in Florida and the remain Florida counties are serviced by Komen Miami/Ft. Lauderdale.  The resulting Community Profile identified South Palm Beach County as an area of greatest need because of the large number of women in poverty, ethnic and racial diversity, and large population of older women. Komen Florida has deep experience in addressing disparities as local breast health first responders. The affiliate has provided $56.88 million in funding since 1990 to increase education, treatment, and access to care for those at or below poverty in the state.

Komen Florida selected Delray Beach because of the high number of African American women and deep need in the community.  According to the US Census, 8,654 African American women reside in the area, 26% of the total population lives in poverty, 11,153 individuals lack health coverage, and 24,602 have public health benefits.

“Thanks to Quantum Foundation’s support, we’re addressing the needs of underserved people in our community and eliminating barriers to care,” said Kate Watt, executive director of Susan G. Komen Florida.  “With our own Komen navigator embracing a community that has long suffered breast health disparities, we are breaking down the barriers and breaking through the silence to save lives.”

The idea to place Komen’s own breast health navigators within communities of need was born out of community discussions with health professionals, survivors and residents of south Palm Beach County.

“Komen Florida is opening conversations and providing direct education and support where none existed, all for one important goal—to decrease disparities in breast cancer mortality,” said Eric Kelly, president of Quantum Foundation.  “Their model shows that they understand the importance of trust and recognizing cultural differences when it comes to making an impact on health, education, and following a care plan when someone has breast cancer.”

“The residents of Palm Beach County are fortunate to have the vision and support of the Quantum Foundation,” said Jill Weiss, president of Komen Florida.  “Their local support is critical to Komen Florida’s evolution from a funder of breast health programs to putting us on the front lines of providing breast health care to those most in need.”