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AEP Foundation Partnership With American Cancer Society

by on March 29, 2022
cancerhotspots
Three regions in the U.S. have been identified as “hot spots” for colorectal cancer due to death rates that are 18 percent higher than normal.

Since the mid-1970s, colorectal cancer death rates have dropped 47% in the U.S., but not all regions have seen that improvement. One of those areas, considered a “hot spot” for colorectal cancer, is in AEP’s backyard: southern Ohio, western West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky, communities served by three of our operating companies.

The AEP Foundation has partnered with the American Cancer Society to mitigate health disparities in these communities, awarding grants totaling $425,000.

The American Cancer Society’s mission is to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer while maintaining a commitment to diversity and inclusion values and promoting health equity.

“It makes so much sense for the AEP Foundation to partner with the ACS to help them with that commitment,” says Janelle Coleman, vice president, Community Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion.

Health disparities are a particular type of health difference that is linked with social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantages and other characteristics historically connected to discrimination or exclusion and affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater obstacles to health.

This “hot spot” in our service territory has not shared equally in declining death rates from colorectal cancer. This is due to many factors that characterize the population residing there, including unusually low rates of colorectal cancer screening. In fact, in west central Appalachia, death rates from colorectal cancer are 18% higher than the rest of the country.

“We know that our customers in these rural parts of Appalachian Power have challenges that may not exist in other parts of our AEP service territory,” said Chris Beam, president and chief operating officer of Appalachian Power. “I’m proud to see this advocacy helping to bring some equity to cancer prevention and treatment.”

Cancer is a disease that affects everyone, but it does not affect everyone equally. Andy Reis, vice president, Audit Services, and an ACS board member said, “Health equity as it relates to cancer means everyone has a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer.”

Thanks to funding from the AEP Foundation, the ACS has been able to eliminate barriers that prevent the full participation and success of people in our communities.

“This is such a great example of the kind of impact the AEP Foundation can have in the communities that we serve through our partnerships and is one step in the right direction on our journey to health equity,” Coleman said.

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