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Dr. Herrell at Commission to End Health Disparities

Dr. Ileana Herrell

Ileana Herrell, Ph.D., Director, Division of Scientific Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis, at the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD), represented the Center at the most recent meeting of the Commission to End Healthcare Disparities. This prestigious group was formed in response to the 2003 Institute of Medicine report on health disparities.

Established by the American Medical Association, the National Medical Association, the National Hispanic Medical Association and more than 50 other organizations of healthcare professionals, the Commission is charged with developing consensus on strategies and solutions to effectively address health care disparities. Herrell outlined the role federal agencies should play in this process.

Herrell underscored NCMHD’s role in establishing several programs to help build the scientific infrastructure to conduct health disparity research and the Center’s emphasis on research into the “inter-connectivity” of the factors that contribute to health disparities. She said: “In order for us to eliminate health disparities and to achieve equity in health outcomes…it is vital that we study the underlying basis of biology, culture, socio-economics, racism, and politics.”

Representing Dr. John Ruffin, Ph.D., Director of NCMHD, Herrell also accepted the Public Sector Partner Award from the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). HACU sited the Center for its “outstanding leadership and support of HACU’s mission and programs.”
American Medical Association
National Medical Association
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities

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Dr. Hunter at Sisters Study Advisory Board

Dr. Joyce A. Hunter

Joyce A. Hunter, Ph.D., Deputy Director of the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) recently represented the Center at the advisory board meeting of the Sister Study, a unique public private partnership that seeks to identify some of the genetic and environmental causes of breast cancer.

The Sister Study is the only long-term study in the United States and Puerto Rico of women ages 35 to 74 whose sisters had breast cancer. Begun in 2003, the study will follow 50,000 women for at least 10 years to learn how the environment and genes may affect a woman’s chances of getting breast cancer. 

“NCMHD has been proud to support this research,” said Dr. Hunter. “It was encouraging to hear that the advisory board was especially appreciative of the Center’s efforts to ensure that the study is broadly representative.”

John Ruffin, Ph.D., Director of NCMHD said, “The Sister Study will provide valuable information about the different reasons women get breast cancer. While women from all walks of life may have common experiences that could increase their chances of developing breast cancer, it is important that women from all backgrounds participate so that the results of the study will apply to everyone.”

In FY 2007 NCMHD awarded $2.1 million to the study to assist in the recruitment and retention of a diverse cohort of women - African Americans, Asians, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Hispanics, and Seniors age 65 and older. The Sister Study is conducted by an intramural component of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). The private partners include the American Cancer Society, Sisters Network, Inc., the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization.

Breast cancer will affect 1 in 8 women in the US over their lifetimes. African American women are 10% less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer but 35% more likely to die from it.

The Sister Study Breast Cancer Research
Advisory board meeting
Advisory Board Meeting
Meeting Participants
Meeting Participants

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