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Komen race in Athens builds on long partnership with Heritage College

(ATHENS, Ohio — Sept. 29, 2015) The Komen Athens Race for the Cure on Sunday, Oct. 25, will mark the first time the prestigious Race for the Cure, which raises money toward finding a cure for breast cancer, comes to Athens. But the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine’s involvement with Susan G. Komen Columbus® is far from new.

Building on its long-standing relationship with the organization, the Heritage College will serve as a sponsor of next month’s race and has organized a team, “Passionate Soles for a Cure,” to compete in the event. Heritage College medical students, led by Assistant Professor of Family Medicine Tim Law, D.O. (’94), M.B.A., also will staff medical aid stations for runners and walkers.

Heritage College Executive Dean Kenneth H. Johnson, D.O., who will be running the race, said he welcomes the event to Athens. “We could not fulfill our mission without the generous help of our many partners,” Johnson said. “The people at Susan G. Komen have consistently stepped up to help us improve the health of women in our region, and this event will allow them to keep doing that while also building awareness.”

Community Health Programs (CHP) at the Heritage College has long enjoyed support from Komen Columbus for breast health initiatives in the Appalachian Ohio counties it serves. Susan G. Komen Columbus is a major funder, along with the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation, of CHP’s Healthy Adult Project: Breast Screening Program (HAP:BSP), a program designed to increase early diagnosis of breast cancer.

Through breast health services at a clinic on the Athens campus and a mobile clinic that travels throughout southeastern Ohio, HAP:BSP offers free or reduced-cost breast health education, breast cancer screenings, clinical breast exams, vouchers for mammograms, and other diagnostic referrals and follow-ups.

“Komen has been a supporter of our program for at least 15 years and has given us approximately $1 million to help women get screenings, and mammograms, and referrals if they need additional care,” said Kathy Trace, R.N., director of CHP and the Area Health Education Center at the Heritage College. Trace said that by allowing more early diagnoses of breast cancer, Komen’s support has undoubtedly saved lives in the region. She added that for those women found to be cancer-free, who might not have gotten screened without CHP, the program has improved quality of life “by giving them peace of mind.”

CHP estimates that in 2014-15 this program provided clinical services valued at nearly $130,000, which included screening 362 women at 60 clinics around the region. Survey results show that approximately three-quarters of the women surveyed said that without the program, they would have gone without breast and cervical screening.

Earlier this year, CHP replaced one of its two existing mobile clinics with a new 40-foot mobile unit so it can continue providing health care on wheels as it’s been doing for more than 20 years. The new mobile clinic was made possible by funding from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation, with additional support from Komen Columbus.

Also with Komen’s support, CHP is hosting three “breast health extravaganza” events this year, where women are invited out for an evening of dinner, entertainment and door prizes, and provided with information on breast health. One such event was held in Lawrence County in August; two more are scheduled for October in Morgan and Washington counties. (For dates and locations, see

Trace said she’s excited to see Komen’s Race for the Cure coming to Athens for the first time and hopes Heritage College staff and students will support the event as volunteers, participants or donors, and help strengthen a partnership that has been good for Komen, good for the college, and most of all, good for area women.

To register to run or walk with the Passionate Soles team or to donate, visit and click on “Athens Race for the Cure” under the “events” tab.

The Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine is a leader in training dedicated primary care physicians who are prepared to address the most pervasive medical needs in the state and the nation. Approximately 50 percent of Heritage College alumni practice in primary care and nearly 60 percent practice in Ohio. CARE LEADS HERE.

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Last updated: 01/28/2016