July 9, 2020 - Today, the Livestrong Foundation, a non-profit that leads the cancer frontier through advocacy and programs, hosted the inaugural Icon Global EQ – Equity in Cancer Care event as an extension of its Commitment to Social Justice, announced on June 4, 2020. Icon Global EQ is part of Livestrong’s signature Innovation Conversation (Icon) Series, where representatives – from the cancer community and beyond – strive to find solutions that address the largest gaps in cancer care.
“43.5 million Americans identify as Non-Hispanic Black or African American, making up 13% of the total US population and yet, collectively, Black Americans have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial/ethnic group in the US for most cancers – this must change,” explained Suzanne Stone, Chief Strategic Solutions & Programs Officer at the Livestrong Foundation. “When we conducted the Livestrong Gaps in Care survey in 2019, Black Americans overwhelmingly identified Patient Education as a primary gap in cancer care. That’s why today’s conversation focused on solving the challenges of patient education in the Black community, thereby impacting survival in a positive way.”
The virtual event featured keynote speaker Rhonda M. Smith, Health Disparities Consultant & Executive Director of Life Serve Youth Foundation, moderators Lailea Noel, PhD, Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, Dell Medical School, and Sharon Ricks, Director of Health Equity Strategy and Transformation at the University of Texas and Phyllis David, Breast Cancer Thriver. All three led insightful conversations that drove attendees to listen, learn, and collaborate on solutions that address inequities in care that adversely affect the Black community.
Throughout today’s program keynote speaker, Rhonda M. Smith reinforced the need for equity in care. “Individuals, regardless of the color of their skin, what they look like, where they live, how much money they make, or what country they come from, should receive high-quality, life-saving care in a bias-free system…We must work together to address the inequities and dismantle the barriers so we can improve cancer outcomes for African Americans—and for all people of color”.
She continues, “I am here today to do my part and take action to ensure that there is equity for all, not only in cancer care, but in health care in general, and I challenge you all to do the same. We hope that Icon Global EQ will be a unique opportunity for you to ask the right questions, solve the right problems, provide innovative solutions, and make an impact”.
Livestrong recently announced a broader Commitment to Social Justice in response to inequities in care experienced by the Black community. In addition to Icon Global EQ, Livestrong is dedicating at least $50,000 annually to fund lasting solutions that will fill gaps and improve the cancer experience for Black Americans. “The issue at hand is systemic and long-standing. It requires a response that is systematic and long-term. Dialogue is critical but words alone are not enough,” stated Greg Lee, President & CEO of Livestrong.
Learn more about Livestrong on their website: www.livestrong.org.