KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Komen Breast Cancer Charity Shakes Up Leadership

Founder Nancy Brinker moves out of the day-to-day management to concentrate on raising funds, and the president, Liz Thompson, is leaving six months after the group backed down from controversial plans to cut funding to Planned Parenthood.

The Associated Press/Politico: Susan G. Komen President Resigns; Founder Shifts Rolls
The president of Susan G. Komen for the Cure is resigning and founder Nancy Brinker is moving away from its day-to-day management, the nation’s largest breast cancer foundation said Wednesday as fallout from its brief decision to end funding for Planned Parenthood reaches the organization’s highest ranks. President Liz Thompson will leave Komen next month and Brinker will relinquish her chief executive’s role for one more focused on fundraising and strategic planning, according to a statement from the Dallas-based organization (8/8).

Los Angeles Times: Komen Breast Cancer Charity's Top Leaders Step Down
The changes came six months after a public uproar when (Komen) decided to stop funding breast health services operated by Planned Parenthood. Though Brinker and others in the national leadership said that the decision to halt funding had nothing to do with abortion politics, critics and some local Komen affiliates cried foul, and the charity reversed its decision within days (Brown and Khan, 8/9).

The Wall Street Journal: Breast-Cancer Group Shakes Up Ranks
Ms. Brinker said the changes had nothing to do with the Planned Parenthood firestorm. She said the nonprofit is now "very sensitive" that its work and employees aren't interpreted as political, calling the group "pro-cure." "I apologized to everyone. I think we all made mistakes and we addressed them and we're through that and we're moving on," said Ms. Brinker. Both women came under withering criticism in January and February when the Planned Parenthood policy was announced (West, 8/8).

Reuters: Komen Founder To Leave CEO Role But Stay On In Management
Following the controversy, a few of Komen's flagship "Race for the Cure" fundraising events failed to meet targets, and several of the group's leaders stepped down earlier this year. Brinker, who founded the organization in 1982, two years after her sister, Susan G. Komen, died of breast cancer, will "move to a new management role focusing on revenue creation, strategy and global growth," the group said in a statement (MacLaggan, 8/9).

The New York Times: Breast Cancer Group Changes Leaders
In the statement, Ms. Brinker praised Ms. Thompson, but vowed to press forward. "We are doing everything in our power to ensure that women have access to quality cancer care and the support that they need, as we seek answers through cutting-edge research," Ms. Brinker said. Planned Parenthood released a statement applauding the contributions of Ms. Brinker and Ms. Thompson to breast cancer research and said it was "proud" to continue to work with Komen (Schwirtz, 8/8).

NPR: Susan G. Komen’s President To Leave Organization
The breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced Wednesday a shakeup of its top ranks in the wake of criticism over its decision to halt partnerships with affiliates of Planned Parenthood. In a statement, Komen said its president, Liz Thompson, would leave the organization in September (Calamur, 8/8).

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