By Southwester Staff

The Thelma D. Jones Breast Cancer Fund (TDJBCF) was recently funded as a key community partner on the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center-led collaborative Breast Health Equity Grant. The two-year project, funded by Pfizer Global Medical Grants and overseen by the American Cancer Society, will address breast cancer disparities in the District of Columbia. The project will focus on improving mammography screening and genetic testing for breast cancer amongst Black/African American women and men. 

In collaboration with TDJBCF and other organizations like the African Women’s Cancer Awareness Association (AWCAA), researchers at the Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Center are using a community-engaged approach to improve breast cancer outcomes among Black/African American women in D.C. This involves identifying eligible at-risk women and breast cancer survivors, then navigating them to the Capital Breast Care Center for mammography screening and genetic testing. A key component of the project involves community education delivered through community partners, such as the TDJBCF. 

Lucile Adams-Campbell, Ph.D, Associate Director for Minority Health and Health Disparities Research, Senior Associate Dean for Community Outreach and Engagement, and Professor of Oncology at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center, said: “As cancer researchers, our goal to improve equity and reduce disparities will not be successful without close collaboration and engagement with the community.” Dr. Adams-Campbell will speak on Wednesday, April 15, at 6 p.m., via teleconference call, during the TDJBCF Support Groups 10th Anniversary Celebration.

Last October, Dr. Adams-Campbell presented Thelma D. Jones with the Georgetown Lombardi Capital Breast Care Center Inaugural Andrea Roane Award at their annual Gift of Life Breakfast for her years of service in outreach, support, and education to breast cancer survivors, particularly in the Black/African American community.

Integral to this project is collaboration with clinical partners like the D.C. Department of Health and community partners like the TDJBCF, that provide education and services for breast cancer survivors. The TDJBCF has long been involved with breast cancer, as founder Thelma D. Jones is a breast cancer survivor herself. Her experience as a late stage breast cancer survivor, vast network and training experience with organizations such as Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, American Cancer Society, Department of Health, and Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Center, among others, have also prepared her for this project. “My training in breast health and chronic disease, coupled with my network and long-time harmonious relationship with my SW neighbors, and the region in general, will bring value added in achieving the project’s goal and primary objectives,” said Jones. 

After serving on the Georgetown Lombardi Capital Breast Care Center Community Advisory Council for more than five years, Jones is confident that her grassroots organization is poised to meet challenges and help shift the paradigm on making mammography screening more common practice. She also hopes to reduce the incidence and mortality rates of breast cancer in Black/African American women in Southwest DC and the greater D.C. area – an area that is afflicted with the nation’s highest incidence and mortality rates of breast cancer.

The TDJBCF meets monthly on the 3rd Wednesday at 6 p.m., at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, unless otherwise notified. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, TDJBCF support group meetings are being held via conference calls or similar methods. 

The mission of the Thelma D. Jones Breast Cancer Fund is to advocate for and improve the overall health and wellness for women and men through outreach, education, and prevention.  We promote early detection strategies for breast health through access to the best biomedical and evidence-based complementary therapies to reduce the incidence and mortality rates of breast cancer. Our vision is to save lives and achieve a world community free of breast cancer.For more information on the support group meetings, please email thelma@tdjbreastcancerfund.org or visit www.tdjbreastcancerfund.org.

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