The head of one of Cincinnati's largest companies says the region needs a bigger cancer research program.
Western & Southern President John Barrett says cancer is the community's greatest civic challenge and his company is pledging $10 million toward creating a center with a National Cancer Institute designation.
"There are 69 such centers in the United States and we're one of the largest metro areas that doesn't have one," says Barrett. "The NCI designation reflects the highest level combination of laboratory, clinical and population science, multidisciplinary working groups, and training programs. It's the seal of approval."
He says Hamilton County's cancer rate is higher than the state and national averages.
Barrett is asking the business and medical communities to get involved and estimates they will need to raise at least $100 million to create an NCI center. He says the investment will pay off in better access to cancer care and research, and attracting other related businesses.
Barrett made the announcement during a speech to the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's annual lunch.
He also says the region must reduce its poverty rate by considering options beyond what the federal government has offered.
The cancer and poverty goals are part of a three-pronged strategy to beautify the Cincinnati region, grow the economic base, and and make Greater Cincinnati an appealing place to live.