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Fighting for Equal Healthcare for All

Article / Review by on October 5, 2011 – 7:15 pmNo Comments

Fighting for Equal Healthcare for All

“Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane,” said Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Anne Marie Murphy is the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force, a non- profit organization with the  mission  to eliminate racial, ethnic and class disparity in breast cancer mortality rates in Chicago.

” When I learned that I had been selected as a White House Champion of Change in the fight against breast cancer, I was both honored and humbled.  To receive recognition for doing work that you are passionate about and that you hope will make a difference is incredibly rewarding.  But as I reflect on this honor, I am reminded of Dr. King’s words.  

My organization, the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force, is located in an internationally renowned city. Our current President hails from Chicago.  The City is rich with resources – academic, civic, philanthropic and even health care. Yet, Chicago  has one of the highest disparity rates in the country when it comes to breast cancer mortality for African American women. Our research shows that African America women are 62 percent more likely to lose the battle against breast cancer than their white counterparts. Chicago also has some of the lowest mammogram screening rates in the country for women receiving Medicare. Statistics like these are both shocking and inhumane because they shouldn’t exist in a City like ours – the City of Big Shoulders. Yet, when it comes to breast cancer, we are clearly failing a large portion of our citizens. The fact that African American women have seen no improvement in survival over the last 20 years when so much has improved with treatment and mammography is a testament to this failure. It is quite simply a health care injustice.

The good news is that the Task Force (and its many community and health care partners) is working hard to end this injustice.  We engage in research funded by Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Avon Foundation for Women to improve the quality of care offered to ALL women, advocacy to combat laws and policies that act as barriers to accessing best care, and community outreach to remind women about the importance of mammogram screenings and early detection.  We consider ourselves fortunate to work with amazing institutions and groups that are just as outraged by the breast cancer disparity rate in Chicago as we are.

Our mission is to make sure that every woman in Metropolitan Chicago has access to life saving breast cancer screening and treatment, regardless of her race, socio-economic  status, or where she lives – excellence in healthcare for all not for a chosen few.  Some may call this idealistic because we live in a country that is inherently made up of the haves and have-nots.   Even if such cynicism has a kernel of truth, I choose to disregard it.  I stand by the words of Dr. King.”

 Dr. Anne Marie Murphy 
Executive Director of the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force

* Dr. Anne Marie Murphy is the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force, a non- profit organization with the  mission  to eliminate racial, ethnic and class disparity in breast cancer mortality rates in Chicago.

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Champions of Change: Leaders in the Fight Against Breast Cancer

The best ideas come from the people. Everyone has a story to tell, everyone has a part to play. All acroiss the country, ordinary Americans are doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.
 
Champions of Change is a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping our country rise to meet the many challenges of the 21st century.
 
Every week these Champions of Change are invited to the White House to share their ideas to win the future.
 
 
Champions of Change is a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping our country rise to meet the many challenges of the 21st century. Every week these Champions of Change are invited to the White House to share their ideas to win the future.
  

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The White HouseThe White House Logo

 

**  The above story is adapted from materials provided by  The White House 

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