News Release: Research

Sep. 30,  2008

Avon Foundation Awards $950,000 to Cancer Institute and Grady

From Woodruff Health Sciences Center News

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.

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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 Winship, for Grady Hospital, and for the state of Georgia," says Dr. Leyland-Jones. "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, 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.

"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 towards eradicating breast cancer," says Hurlbert. "Avon's regional headquarters is just outside Atlanta, and both Avon and the Avon Foundation have a special connection to the community. We are especially grateful to the Avon Sales Representatives and participants in the nationwide Avon Walk for Breast Cancer series who make the grants possible."

The Avon Foundation is an accredited 501(c)(3) public charity founded in 1955 to improve the lives of women and their families. The Foundation currently brings this mission to life through the Speak Out Against Domestic Violence prog ram and the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, which raises funds and awareness to advance access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer, with a focus on the medically underserved. From 1992 to the end of 2008, the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade will have raised and awarded more than $585 million worldwide for medical research; access to care; support services; screening and diagnostics; and education and awareness. The largest fundraising program in the U.S. is the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer series. To learn more visit, where you can also access the free printable Breast Health Resource Guide in English and Spanish.

The Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University: As a leader in patient-centered cancer care and research, Emory University's Winship Cancer Institute (EWCI) serves as the coordinating center for a vast array of resources in medical, surgical, radiation oncology, diagnostic imaging, and the subspecialties of cancer care throughout Emory University--from blood and bone marrow stem cell transplants to groundbreaking surgical procedures.

The Avon Foundation Comprehensive Breast Center at Grady Memorial Hospital's Georgia Cancer Center for Excellence is a comprehensive, multidisciplinary breast care program, offering a full spectrum of clinical and support services, including screening, diagnosis, treatment, counseling and laboratory research. Its mission is to expand breast health care for medically underserved women in metropolitan Atlanta.


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