Hologic, a global leader in women’s health, today launched Project Health Equality (PHE), a unique initiative that strives to address the structural and cultural barriers that prevent Black and Hispanic women in the U.S. from receiving the same quality health care as white women. PHE will focus initially on how health care is experienced by thousands of Black and Hispanic women in regions across the United States. It will leverage crucial partners to make meaningful, sustainable health care improvements in these communities.
Project Health Equality is a multifaceted, multiyear investment of more than $20 million to drive research, education and access to ensure women of color receive the care they want, need and deserve. It accelerates and expands Hologic’s existing efforts to increase screening and care across a spectrum of life-threatening conditions – breast cancer, cervical cancer and abnormal uterine bleeding – that disproportionately affect Black and Hispanic women. The goal of PHE is to innovate culturally competent care delivery, improve public health policy, increase access and ultimately decrease disparities that lead to disproportionate mortality for Black and Hispanic women.
In the U.S., Black women are 40% more likely to die from breast canceri and two times more likely to die from cervical cancerii than white women. They also have a 14% higher incidence of cervical cancer than white women.iii Meanwhile, Hispanic women are 40% more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer, and 20% more likely to die from it compared to non-Hispanic white women.iv Finally, Black women experience fibroids up to three times more frequently than other racial groups.v
“Our goal is to end the disconnect between the care Black and Hispanic women receive and the care they should receive,” said Karleen Oberton, chief financial officer, Hologic. “Project Health Equality is about doing the big, bold work necessary to create equity in the here and now that can reverberate across women’s lives and society for generations to come.”
PHE is a unique, holistic approach to solving the systemic and cultural issues that continue to exacerbate inequality in women’s health care through:
- Research: Hologic is conducting research to inform actionable insights into cultural, social and economic disparities to ensure that Black and Hispanic women in the U.S. can access and receive the best health care available. This will inform the company’s next steps on the path to scalable solutions. For example, a report published in February 2021 in the Journal of the American College of Radiologyvi showed that Black women are more likely to receive inferior breast cancer screening than white women.
- Patient and provider awareness and education: With leading health advocates like the Black Women’s Health Imperative and the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, Hologic is developing a dedicated website, printed materials, social media assets and celebrity partnerships to help health care professionals, providers, community health workers (promotores), policy makers and others implement solutions to address the barriers that impact the health care experiences of Black and Hispanic women.
- Access to care: In collaboration with radiologic nonprofit RAD-AID, Hologic is expanding the delivery of state-of-the-art care, from screenings through treatment, for thousands of underserved women. Hologic and RAD-AID are partnering with Federally Qualified Health Care Centers, local community health clinics and tertiary care institutions across the United States, including in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington and Washington, D.C., to ensure greater access and higher-quality health care.
Since its founding, Hologic has been a champion of women’s health, and PHE is just the latest example of its commitment. PHE extends Hologic’s long-time partnership with a variety of international organizations whose unparalleled contributions to women’s health have already made a meaningful difference in the lives of Black and Hispanic women globally.
“While we have a 36-year legacy of serving women with the most scientifically and technologically advanced health products and services, the challenges are too ingrained, too big, and too complex for any one organization to solve,” said Meg Eckenroad, vice president, women’s health, Hologic. “We cannot reach the goals of PHE without partnering with other effective organizations whose values, vision and expertise complement our own, and who have unique insights into these communities. Our ongoing partnerships with the Black Women’s Health Imperative, the National Alliance for Hispanic Health and RAD-AID will be critical to our success.”