Special Research Initiatives Steering Committee


portrait: Julia G. Brody

Julia G. Brody, Ph.D., a nationally recognized leader in research on breast cancer and the environment, is the executive director of Silent Spring Institute in Newton, Massachusetts. Dr Brody is the principal investigator of an award-winning study, the ongoing Cape Cod Breast Cancer and Environmental Study, that is investigating whether chemicals that pollute air and water­and are also found in pesticides, detergents, plastics, and cosmetics cause breast cancer. This ongoing research, includes 2100 Cape Cod women, and is now in its eleventh year.

portrait: Mhel Kavanaugh-Lynch

Mhel Kavanaugh-Lynch, M.D., M.P.H., Director of the California Breast Cancer Research Program. Dr. Kavanaugh-Lynch has an M.D. and an M.S. in pharmacology from New York University and an M.P.H. from University of Washington. Her career includes several years of basic science research, clinical practice in internal medicine and oncology, clinical research on bone marrow transplantation for the treatment of breast cancer, and public health research in women's health, lesbian health, and breast cancer. Her increasing awareness of the politics of cancer research, along with a need to have her work be more congruent with her social/political interests and convictions, led her to change direction and pursue work in health research policy. Her commitment to bringing women's voices into research and decisions about research drew her to the California Breast Cancer Research Program, a Program that arose and continues to grow through the energy, wisdom, and dreams of women with breast cancer.

Portrait: Funmi Olopade

Olufunmilayo I (Funmi) Olopade, M.D., Walter L. Palmer Distinguished Service Professor of Medicine, directs a multidisciplinary clinical and laboratory research program at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Dr. Olopade is internationally renowned for her expertise in cancer genetics and has published extensively in the area of genetics of breast cancer predisposition. Dr. Olopade received her medical degree with distinction from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. She came to the U.S. as a resident in internal medicine at Cook County Hospital, Chicago, where she was named Chief Medical Resident. Dr. Olopade completed her postdoctoral fellowship training in the joint section of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Chicago and was appointed to the faculty in 1991. Dr. Olopade is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the ASCO Young Investigator award, the James S. McDonnell Foundation Scholar award, the Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist award, and a 2005 MacArthur Fellowship “genius” grant.

Portrait: Susan Shinagawa

Susan Matsuko Shinagawa, A breast cancer thriver following primary diagnoses in 1991 and 2001, with a 1997 diagnosis of recurrent disease -- is widely recognized as the nation's leading Asian American cancer and chronic pain survivor advocate. She is a Past Chair of the Intercultural Cancer Council, co-founder/co-chair of the Asian & Pacific Islander National Cancer Survivors Network, and has served or chaired many advisory councils at the national, state and local level, including CBCRP's inaugural Breast Cancer Research Council on which she served and was elected as the Council's second chair. An often-invited speaker on cancer and pain issues germane to minority and the poor communities, Susan has received numerous awards for her efforts to achieve equity in healthcare and social justice for all.

Portrait: Sandra Steingraber

In her book Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment, cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., presents cancer as a human rights issue. The book was the first to combine data on toxic releases with data from U.S. cancer registries. It garnered widespread praise from international media. Her new book, Having Faith: An Ecologist's Journey to Motherhood, reveals the alarming extent to which environmental hazards now threaten each crucial stage of infant development. Dr. Steingraber also lectures widely at conferences, universities, medical schools and teaching hospitals. Dr. Steingraber received a Hero Award from the Breast Cancer Fund in 2006.

Portrait: David Williams

David R. Williams, Ph.D., is the Norman Professor of Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health and a Professor of African American Studies and Sociology at Harvard University. His prior academic appointments were at the University of Michigan (14 Years) and Yale University (6 years). His research expertise includes socioeconomic and racial differences in health and the ways in which religious involvement can affect health. The award-winning author of more than 130 scholarly papers in scientific journals and edited collections, he has been involved in developing federal health policy, testified before Congress, and been featured in national print media and on national television.