Emory Report
October 6, 2008
Volume 61, Number 7



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October 6
, 2008
Avon grant to bolster research

By Vincent Dollard

The Avon Foundation has awarded a $950,000 one-year grant to Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute and Grady Memorial Hospital. The grant will support community outreach, patient navigation and breast cancer research at the Avon Comprehensive Breast Center at Grady, which opened in 2004 with previous funding from the Avon Foundation.

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 is training for 110 volunteer Community Health Advocates 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 health care 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 the journal Cancer, 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 Winship, for Grady Hospital, and for the state of Georgia,” says Brian Leyland-Jones, director of Emory Winship. “With this newest grant, we are excited to be able to continue our work and move into new areas of research and access to care.”

The Avon grant will also support a phase II clinical trial examining new treatment approaches for triple negative breast cancer, a 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.

“We are proud to continue our longstanding partnership with Emory and Grady in helping ensure all women in the Atlanta area have access to quality care as we help researchers work toward eradicating breast cancer,” says Marc Hurlbert, director of the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. “Avon’s regional headquarters is just outside Atlanta, and both Avon and the Avon Foundation have a special connection to the community.”

This grant is one example of the private support being sought for the recently announced Campaign Emory, a $1.6 billion fundraising endeavor that combines private support and the University’s people, places and programs to make a powerful contribution to the world.