TAMPA, Fla. — In response to an increased awareness of health disparity issues locally and nationally, Moffitt Cancer Center has launched a new initiative called the Moffitt Health Equity Partners, an innovative program that harnesses the power of Tampa Bay businesses to improve health equity.

Moffitt Health Equity Partners allows businesses to fund projects that are specifically designed to improve health care access, research and education in underserved communities. By joining this corporate membership program, companies tap into Moffitt’s expertise and work to overcome health disparities.

“Many businesses want to strengthen their communities by improving health equity, but they’re not sure how to do it on their own,” said Moffitt Vice President and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Cathy Grant. “By working with Moffitt Health Equity Partners, companies invest in research-tested programs designed to prevent cancer and increase treatment in underserved communities.”

Awareness has increased in recent years that health outcomes and access to care vary widely in minority and majority communities.

For example, Black men are twice as likely to die from prostate cancer than non-Hispanic white men. Black women are 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than non-Hispanic white women. Hispanic women are 40% more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer and 30% more likely to die from the disease than non-Hispanic white women.

Figures like these moved the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to become the first company to join Moffitt Health Equity Partners. Funding from the Buccaneers will support community outreach and cancer health education.

Moffitt Health Equity Partners is an outgrowth of Moffitt’s George Edgecomb Society, created in honor of Hillsborough County’s first Black judge and a good friend of H. Lee Moffitt, founder of the cancer center. At age 33, Edgecomb died of leukemia in 1977.

“George’s life has had a ripple effect here in Tampa, and the Moffitt Health Equity Partners program is one example of the impact of his legacy,” said Doretha Edgecomb of her late husband. “Moffitt’s efforts to focus on underserved communities is reflective of how George’s life has and will continue to promote equity for all.”

Funding from partners in the program improves health equity through:

  • Community education sessions in English and Spanish to address health disparities in diverse communities. Topics include breast cancer awareness, nutrition and men’s cancer awareness.
  • Vouchers for no-cost mammograms, prostate, lung CT or colon cancer screenings for the uninsured.
  • Increasing research into cancers that disproportionately impact under-resourced
  • Recruiting diverse faculty at Moffitt to improve culturally competent care for all patients and families.
  • Transportation initiatives to ensure area residents can get to and from medical appointments and screenings at Moffitt.

“Moffitt Cancer Center is deeply committed to providing quality health care to all communities in the Tampa Bay area,” said Moffitt Foundation President Maria Muller. “With this partnership program, Moffitt and Tampa Bay businesses are working together to make an even bigger impact.”

Businesses seeking more information about Moffitt Health Equity Partners are encouraged to contact Lorrin.Rucker@Moffitt.org.

About Moffitt Cancer Center

Moffitt is dedicated to one lifesaving mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. The Tampa-based facility is one of only 53 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s scientific excellence, multidisciplinary research, and robust training and education. Moffitt’s expert nursing staff is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with Magnet® status, its highest distinction. With more than 7,800 team members, Moffitt has an economic impact in the state of $2.4 billion. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488), visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the momentum on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.