Last week, more than 100 people gathered on the campus of Owensboro Health to celebrate yet another milestone in further promoting its mission in our region. Owensboro Health announced that it was joining the Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network, creating a relationship with the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in Kentucky and one of only 69 in the United States. Markey Cancer Center is recognized as one of the foremost cancer care and research centers in the nation.
This collaborative partnership is great news for the people of Greater Owensboro and the 400,000-plus people in Western Kentucky who are served by Owensboro Health.
First of all, there is the economic benefit for our region. Owensboro Health is Kentucky’s largest employer west of I-65. Whenever their leadership moves in a direction to further enhance care, it benefits our regional economy by keeping care local, sustaining and creating more great jobs that support families of our region and growing the talent base of our community. Access to quality health is an integral piece of quality of life.
And beyond the business aspect of the partnership is actual care. Western Kentucky has one of the highest cancer rates in the country. It is nearly impossible to find a family who has not been touched by it. And those of us who have had cancer affect our lives up close know that “home” is one of the most important weapons that a patient has to fight the disease. “Home” means having your family near. It means having neighbors stop by to check in or to leave a casserole or a plate of brownies.
This partnership allows cancer patients to access the highest quality and the cutting-edge research in fighting cancer that in the past would only be available to people who were willing to travel to research hospitals. In essence, this creates a research hospital right here.
Owensboro has yet again found a way to beat the odds by using innovation and creativity. The team at Owensboro Health continues to find ways to make our community stronger and more competitive and at the same time touching our lives when we are at our most vulnerable place.
By Candance Brake President and CEO Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce