More than 225 business and community leaders attended the Women's Leadership Breakfast hosted by the Executive Council of the Susan F. Smith Center on Thursday, May 11 at the Westin Boston Seaport District. The breakfast focused on the progress Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is making to advance equity in breast and gynecologic cancer care.
The morning began with opening remarks from Laurie H. Glimcher, CEO and president, Dana-Farber and an update on the Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers at Dana-Farber from Sara Tolaney, MD, MPH, chief of the division of breast oncology, Dana-Farber.
“It is an honor to connect with these leaders on the disparities in breast and gynecologic cancers, an important topic that is worthy of our discussion and demands change,” said Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, president and CEO, Dana-Farber and the Richard and Susan Smith Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “The Susan F. Smith Center Executive Council understands the urgency of these issues and wants to improve cancer outcomes in underserved communities – women united are powerful.”
The sponsors of the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Equity and Early Detection Bill, Massachusetts State Senators Michael F. Rush (D-Boston) and James M. Murphy (D-Weymouth) provided breakfast attendees context on the importance of this legislation.
The breakfast also featured a panel discussion, moderated by Dana-Farber’s Christopher Lathan, MD, MS, MPH, chief clinical access and equity officer and the Christopher and Constance Hadley Family Chair at Dana-Farber, including Dana-Farber experts: Rachel Freedman, MD, MPH; Erica Mayer, MD, MPH; Alexi Wright, MD, MPH; Joyce Liu, MD, MPH; and Magnolia Contreras, MSW, MBA.
“My grandmother, Susan F. Smith, was a longtime supporter of Dana-Farber, and was instrumental in creating this annual event. She would be enormously proud of the number of women at this breakfast and for the Council’s ongoing support, and for their commitment to the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Equity and Early Detection Bill,” said Jessica Knez, Dana-Farber trustee and executive council member.
The Executive Council of the Susan F. Smith Center for Women's Cancers at Dana-Farber is a dedicated group of women devoted to Defying Cancer. Established in 2002, the Executive Council dared to believe that through education, advocacy and fundraising, they could change the trajectory of women's cancers. The diverse and accomplished members share information on the latest research and treatment of women's cancers through a variety of programs including fundraising events, lecture series and on-line forums. Through programming, these women educate thousands who in turn share their knowledge with thousands more.
The Executive Council also supports Susan F. Smith Center patients and their families. Together with the Dana-Farber Legislative Action Network (LAN), the Council advocates on cancer-related issues such as cancer prevention and early detection, strengthening funding for cancer research, improving access to cancer therapies, eliminating disparities in cancer care and clinical trials, and finding equity-focused solutions to address social determinants of health.
Since 2002, more than $19 million has been raised by the Council for the Center with funds going toward groundbreaking research and new forms of treatments for breast and gynecologic cancers.