BackgroundThere is a large and growing disparity in breast cancer mortality between Black and White women in Chicago. An African American woman in Chicago is more than twice as likely to die of breast cancer compared to white women; but it has not always been like this. In 1980 there was little difference in death rates between the two groups. While a decline in breast cancer deaths among White women is a notable success in the fight against the disease, the simultaneous increase in the death rate among Black women implies that advances in breast care over the last 28 years have benefited some, but not all.
In response to these findings, the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force was created bringing together community leaders, advocates, healthcare providers to work together to devise ways to address this terrible disparity. The Task Force published a report with a list of 37 recommendations to address factors that may contribute to the problem. The recommendations centered around:
- Access to Care (both access to screening and timely access to treatment),
- Quality of Mammography and
- Quality of Treatment.
With this in mind, one of the recommendations was to form an initiative among health care providers. These providers would share data on health care quality in a confidential manner with the goal of identifying where problems lay, ultimately solving those problems and saving lives. In 2008, Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation provided funding to initiate the Chicago Breast Cancer Quality Consortium.
We are proud to announce that 54 health care institutions representing 116 sites (locations) in Metropolitan Chicago have either officially joined the Consortium or have expressed intent to join, demonstrating their dedication to the patients they serve. This represents 80 percent of mammography provided by hospitals in Metropolitan Chicago. It is an unprecedented level of participation by health care providers in a voluntary quality improvement project and represents a major commitment by community leaders and health care organizations to eliminating breast cancer disparities in Chicago.
The consortium has also received federal designation as a Patient Safety Organization (PSO) and is the nation's first PSO dedicated exclusively to breast health.