The Avon Foundation has awarded a $950,000 one-year grant to the Emory University’s Winship Cancer Institute and Grady Memorial Hospital. The grant will support community outreach, patient navigation and breast cancer research at the Avon Foundation Comprehensive Breast Center at Grady, which opened its doors in 2004 with previous funding from the Avon Foundation.
Marc Hurlbert, director of the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, and Maria Peninger, southeast regional vice president for Avon Products, Inc., presented the check to Brian Leyland-Jones, MD, PhD, director of Emory Winship, and Sheryl Gabram, MD, director of the AVON Comprehensive Breast Center at Grady, during a ceremony at the regional headquarters of Avon Products, Inc., in Suwanee, Ga.
Since 2000, the Avon Foundation has awarded nearly $11,000,000 to Emory Winship and Grady Memorial Hospital. The funds have been instrumental in supporting leading-edge breast cancer research projects and improving outcomes for underserved women diagnosed with breast cancer in Atlanta.
Among the programs supported by the newest grant are training for 110 volunteer Community Health Advocates (CHAs) who conduct educational programs in local churches, workplaces and health fairs. CHAs tackle misconceptions about breast cancer screening and encourage women in their communities to schedule regular mammograms. The grant also supports patient navigators, themselves breast cancer survivors who help newly diagnosed patients navigate the healthcare system, guiding them to appropriate support services and helping them maintain their appointment schedules.
These efforts have resulted in reaching nearly 10,000 people per year. In a recent paper published in Cancer, a peer-reviewed scientific journal of the American Cancer Society, researchers wrote about the benefits of these programs at Grady. Their study found that community education and navigation programs correlate to an increase in detection of breast cancer in early stages, when it is most curable, and a decrease in breast cancer caught in advanced stages.
“The Avon Foundation has been an extraordinary partner for Emory Winship and for Grady Hospital,” says Leyland-Jones. “With this newest grant, we are excited to be able to continue our work research, treatment and health disparities in Atlanta as well as Georgia.”
The Avon grant will also support a phase II clinical trial examining new treatment approaches for triple negative breast cancer, an especially challenging form of breast cancer that does not respond to hormone therapies and is found more frequently in young African American women. Other funded research projects include a study to help empower minority and underserved women in decision-making about their treatment opportunities as well as continuation of a breast tumor bank that collects samples for use in research.