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Perspective

Racing toward a healthier world, one community at a time

| Jun 03 2015
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Aetna President Karen S. Rohan

Aetna has an audacious goal – to build a healthier world. It’s a big job and it won’t happen overnight. But it will happen. We’ll do it by focusing on one person at a time, one community at a time.

All health care has to be local, especially if you want to build healthier communities. So our business is moving in this direction. We’re taking a more deliberate, local approach to new models of care like health insurance exchanges, and accountable care organizations with local doctors and hospitals.

And we continue to invest in programs that support community health, which are making it easier for people to get and stay healthy. Last year, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation awarded more than $20 million in grants to local organizations. And our employees volunteered more than 420,000 hours of community service.

As president of Aetna, I take tremendous pride in our company’s strong commitment to community. I’ll carry this pride with me at the Komen Connecticut Race for the Cure on June 6, where I have the privilege of serving as Honorary Chair for the third consecutive year.TeamAetna01

During my time as Honorary Chair, we’ve grown Team Aetna to more than 600 runners, walkers and employee volunteers, and created a movement that’s changing the lives of people in the community.

We’ve grown our team one person at a time, and that’s how real change occurs. That’s why I’m so passionate about Komen. They share our passion for change.

And there’s a lot we need to change about breast cancer.

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in the U.S., second only to skin cancers. About one in eight (12 percent) women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. This year alone 231,840 new cases will be diagnosed.

These sobering statistics underscore the importance of early detection — and also the significant community need that organizations like Komen fill. In fact, 75 percent of all funds raised by Komen affiliates stay in their service area and support local breast cancer education, screening and treatment programs.

That’s welcome news for the women – and men – in Connecticut who are battling breast cancer. And there are many of them.

Connecticut’s breast cancer rate is one of the highest in the nation, according to the American Cancer Society.

As the leader of a Connecticut-based business that employs more than 6,100 people in the Nutmeg State, this statistic hits close to home and is my motivation for running.

Connecticut and communities everywhere need our help to get healthier. By becoming more locally focused and partnering with organizations like Komen, we can and will build a healthier world. And we’ll do it one person at a time, one community at a time.