By Southwester Staff

Vanessa B. Sheppard, Ph.D, Department of Health Behavior and Policy
Massey Cancer Center Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine

With the change of the season upon us and all that’s happening in our lives, the Thelma D. Jones Breast Cancer Fund (TDJBCF) believes that it’s time to celebrate and party with a purpose. Join the support group Wednesday, Sept. 15, at 6 p.m. via Zoom and Facebook live to celebrate the 9th Anniversary of the Fund and party with a purpose at the virtual 69th birthday of Thelma D. Jones. 

The celebration will feature renowned guest speaker Vanessa B. Sheppard, Ph.D, who serves as Associate Director, Community Outreach Engagement and Health Disparities at Massey Cancer Center at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine (VCU). She is also Chair of the Department of Health Behavior and Policy at VCU School of Medicine. 

Dr. Sheppard will discuss the study she led on “Sisters informing Sisters,” the first peer-led decision support intervention for Black/African American women diagnosed with breast cancer, which improves patients’ communication with providers and treatment decision outcomes. Dr. Sheppard will also discuss her upcoming efforts in working with the TDJBCF to expand the “Sisters Informing Sisters” intervention effort. 

In addition, she will talk about her research work at VCU’s Massey Cancer Center which is focused on cancer disparities with an emphasis on breast cancer, cancer care delivery, behavioral trials, and longitudinal cohorts. Lastly, Dr. Sheppard will touch on the importance of her research work being conducted within persons diagnosed with cancer and/or at increased risk due to lifestyle behaviors or potential genetic alterations.

The TDJBCF will welcome virtual guests from throughout the country, feature a musical presentation, share brief video tributes from our ambassadors, breast cancer survivors and partners, and raise a birthday toast to TDJBCF’s Founder Thelma D. Jones. 

“This birthday, like all my birthdays, is special,” Jones said, referencing her 2007 diagnosis of a late stage, and rare, aggressive form of breast cancer. “I am still passionate about using my lived experience, network, connections, and voice to help bring about a paradigm shift in reducing the incidence and mortality rates of breast cancer, especially in our underserved communities. At the same time, I want to be an example of courage and hope to others as we travel this journey together as no one should have to travel their journey alone.”  

Don’t miss this special virtual celebration that’s defying COVID-19 and looking ahead to brighter days. For more information on the celebration, email or call (202) 251-1639.

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