News Release: Research, Winship Cancer Institute

Sep. 23,  2009

Avon Foundation Awards Emory Winship and Grady $750,000

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The Avon Foundation has awarded $750,000 to the Emory Winship Cancer Institute and the Avon Comprehensive Breast Center at Grady Memorial Hospital. The grant will be used to continue community outreach, education, clinical access and four research studies that directly affect care for the underserved populations in Atlanta.

"We are grateful to the Avon Foundation for their extraordinary and steadfast support," says Sheryl Gabram, MD, professor of surgical oncology and principle investigator on the Avon grant. "Our aim is to reach 10,000 or more women through outreach and education presentations throughout Atlanta. We also will increase mammography, treatment services and access to clinical trials to underserved women."  

Gabram says the Avon Foundation's support in previous years has resulted in significant improvements in the breast center at Grady.

"The number of women diagnosed with breast cancer at early stages has doubled," she says, "with a corresponding decrease in the number of women who are diagnosed with late stage disease. We are providing over 16,000 mammography, diagnostic and screening services annually and this is a  significant increase from past years."

Since 2000, the Avon Foundation has awarded more than $11,000,000 to Emory Winship and Grady. The funds have been instrumental in building new facilities, acquiring state-of-the-art equipment and supporting leading-edge breast cancer research projects aimed at improving outcomes for underserved women diagnosed with breast cancer in Atlanta. 

"This grant will enable us to build upon the success of our navigator program," says Gabram. "Our breast clinics will be staffed with patient navigators who are also breast cancer survivors and who can immediately reach out to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. For these patients, we will evaluate their need and provide personalized support from breast cancer survivor navigators on an ongoing basis." 

In addition to an emphasis on outreach and clinical services, the grant will support research projects that will examine how access to care, income and other factors impact breast cancer survival among women in Georgia; how a specific surgical procedure affects patients' return rate to the operating room and why African-American women with estrogen receptor positive tumors have worse survival rates than Caucasian women. The grant will also support a collaborative research study with the San Francisco General Avon Comprehensive Center, investigating an educational risk-assessment tool to help patients understand the importance of genetic counseling and referral.

"We are proud to continue our longstanding partnership with Emory and Grady," says Marc Hurlbert, director of the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. "We very much appreciate the exceptional work of the Emory Winship and Grady faculty, staff and volunteers.  Their work is helping us reach our goal. In addition, 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 whose work and involvement make these 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 program 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

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.  


The Emory Winship Cancer Institute is Georgia's only National Cancer Institute Designated Cancer Center. The Emory Winship Cancer Institute 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.  Emory Winship is part of Emory's Woodruff Health Sciences Center, Emory Healthcare and Emory University. Researchers and clinical members of Emory Winship are faculty at Emory or at partner institutions such as Georgia Institute of Technology.  Faculty members regularly collaborate with national and state agencies, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Cancer Society.   Emory is recognized as one of the top 50 cancer centers in the United States by U.S. News and World Report and received the Blue Cross Blue Shield Designation for Treatment of Rare and Complex Cancers.  To learn more about the Emory Winship Cancer Institute, its research, outreach, clinical trials, and faculty and staff, visit


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service. Its components include schools of medicine, nursing, and public health; Yerkes National Primate Research Center; the Emory Winship Cancer Institute; and Emory Healthcare, the largest, most comprehensive health system in Georgia. The Woodruff Health Sciences Center has a $2.3 billion budget, 17,000 employees, 2,300 full-time and 1,900 affiliated faculty, 4,300 students and trainees, and a $4.9 billion economic impact on metro Atlanta.

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