Outside the Circle News

Sarah Groft, Staff Reporter

Susan G. Komen for the Cure leadership restates commitment

On Friday, Feb. 11, leadership of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure affiliate held a 50-minute conference call. The message they wanted to send to the nearly 100 people who called was “Trust us.” Denise Grcevich, the Komen Northeast Ohio Board president, and Sophie Sureau, the executive director, aimed to remind and reassure breast cancer survivors, volunteers, and grant recipients that the organization was still focused on providing services to local women in need.

Grcevich and Sureau also wanted to make it known that none of Komen’s 120 local affiliates had any input into the national board’s decision to withdraw funds from Planned Parenthood. The board reversed that decision after three days of national uproar. Grcevich commented, “We know this has questioned your trust in the organization and, frankly, we have those same concerns. We have voiced our concerns to [the] national [office.]”

Furthermore, Komen Northeast Ohio wanted to make it clear that they make their own decisions as to how they spend the money they raise. “We are extremely autonomous and totally empowered. We locally have the power to decide which organizations we will fund,” said Sureau. This point is reinforced by the $12 million that has been distributed to various local groups for breast health services since the affiliate’s inception.

Many grant recipients were concerned about how their grants would be affected by the national board’s decision. Sureau said, “Nobody who has applied will be penalized by the grants policies decided upon at the national level.”

Some callers were also concerned about the lack of funding given to Planned Parenthood Northeast Ohio for breast cancer screening. According to Komen Northeast Ohio, Planned Parenthood has not submitted a request for proposal in 10 years. Therefore, had they submitted a request for proposal, they would have been considered for funding along with all the other proposals. The Komen Foundation often receives many more proposals than it can afford to fund.

Since the Komen Cleveland 3-Day, which began in 2007, $3 million has been raised, and $400,000 has stayed in Cleveland for research. Three-fourths of the money that was raised in the Cleveland Race for the Cure stays in Northeast Ohio. Less than 10 percent of it is used to pay administrative expenses.

Komen Northeast Ohio receives about 60 percent of its annual income around the time of the Race for the Cure event. Akron will be hosting its first race on July 29, and Cleveland will be hosting its race on Sept. 15.



Planned Parenthood announces merger

The three Ohio affiliates of Planned Parenthood – Northeast Ohio, Central Ohio, and Affiliates of Ohio – recently announced their plans to merge this summer as Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio. This new affiliate, fueled in part by the increasing financial demands that come with healthcare reform, will serve 68 of the 88 counties in Ohio. Tara Broderick, president and CEO of the Northeast Ohio affiliate, said the merge has been planned for over a year.

In order to fill the new CEO position, a committee of current and former board members is conducting a search. The committee hopes to fill the position by April. The new CEO will be responsible for determining senior appointments and organizational structure. There will no longer be a headquarters in Akron, but all 13 Northeast Ohio health centers will stay open.

The merger will not affect the services offered, such as testing for sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy testing, pap testing, and breast exams. Also, according to Broderick, all employees at the Northeastern Ohio affiliate will retain their jobs.

The increasing financial demands that come with healthcare reform deal partially with the fact that the affiliates will need an electronic record and technology systems in order to integrate with other networks and providers. By merging, the affiliates can save money on this expensive but necessary investment.

Another factor behind the merger was recent legislation, more specifically Senate Bill 201, which planned to cut funding for Planned Parenthood and other family-planning centers. “We feel we really need to speak with one voice, to have a stronger public policy and advocacy,” said Broderick.