By Amy E. Best, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Exelon
AS AN ELECTRIC and gas utility company serving more than 6.6 million customers in urban areas like Chicago, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, the well-being of Exelon is intrinsically linked to that of our customers. For this reason, the company works to decrease the disparity of health-related issues—especially in terms of disease awareness and detection, prevention education, and treatment—between people of color and others.
Since 2003, we have collaborated with the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center (UCCCC) to advance healthcare for people of color and broker a partnership between the UCCCC and the diverse populations it serves. The UCCCC programs address misconceptions and low awareness among some diverse, at-risk populations in the early detection and treatment of cancer.
A Walk Through the Cure
Exelon supports the UCCCC’s A Walk Through the Cure events, guided and educational tours of the hospital environment and mammography process aimed at the African American and limited English-speaking Asian American women from Chicago’s South Side. The events include breakfasts among physicians, bilingual community health professionals, community members, and cancer survivors, followed by tours of the University of Chicago Hospital facilities during which staff provide information on cancer risk and control. Participants have not only requested additional walk-throughs on other types of cancer, but 57 percent of Asian American and 50 percent of African American participants age 40 or older responded that they now plan to have yearly mammograms as a result of the program.
Nutrition Knowledge Bowl
In 2008, Exelon supported UCCCC’s Nutrition Knowledge Bowl, a Jeopardy-type game show in which local-area African American students from six South Side high schools participated. The event attracted hundreds of students, parents, teachers, and community members—including healthcare providers—who cheered on their teams and learned more about cancer awareness and healthy eating. The successful event inspired a spinoff program, Ambassadors for Nutrition, through which high school students who participated in the Knowledge Bowl go to local farmers’ markets to distribute health information and discuss cancer and health issues with community members.
Exelon is committed to investing in its communities, especially when it comes to health and wellness of diverse customers. Our community wellness initiatives demonstrate a shared commitment with area providers like UCCCC to build lasting and valuable networks with community members and serve as a resource for sustainability and growth.