Equal Hope (EH), formally known as the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force, was established in 2008 in response to research, showing African American women in Metropolitan Chicago were dying of breast cancer at a rate 62% higher than their White counterparts. Other major cities such as New York City and San Francisco did not have this level of disparity suggesting structural racism in Chicago was a key driver of this health inequity and that eradication is possible. EH and partners determined that systemic lack of access to quality mammography and treatment for African Americans was likely to be a significant cause of this disparity.
EH's mission is to reduce racial, ethnic and class disparities in women's cancer outcomes. We address women’s health holistically to eliminate breast and cervical cancer inequities in prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship. EH has developed a unique model to understand and address cancer inequities. This model first seeks to understand a locality’s healthcare system by mapping out resources and measuring quality across an area. It then seeks to understand the barriers that people face in obtaining the highest quality care. After gathering such research, the EH model then develops targeted, evidence-based interventions to address those barriers to high quality care. All of our programs are designed to promote health equity and reduce health disparities in cancer outcomes.
Our programs are split into three main areas: Equal Hope, Equal Care, and Equal Voice. Equal Hope is our outreach, education and navigation initiatives. EH educates the public about the importance of screening in detecting breast and cervical cancer at its earliest and most treatable stage. EH navigates uninsured and publicly insured women to free screening services. Equal Care is a healthcare collaborative bringing together healthcare providers from all across Metropolitan Chicago to share mammography and cancer treatment quality data to improve its quality. Equal Voice is a grass roots advocacy effort to increase funding for programs that serve uninsured and underinsured women and engage in health systems change to improve women’s access to high quality mammography and breast cancer treatment.
Equal Hope’s mission is to save women’s lives by eliminating health disparities in Illinois, originally through the lens of breast cancer and now expanding to cervical cancer. We address women’s health holistically with the goal of eliminating inequities in prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship for all women.
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