American Cancer Society Launches ResearcHERS to Fund Women-Led Cancer Research and Inspire Future Scientists

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), March 9, 2019 | Go to article overview

American Cancer Society Launches ResearcHERS to Fund Women-Led Cancer Research and Inspire Future Scientists


Byline: Submitted by Amy Jo Steinbruecker

The American Cancer Society in Illinois announced "ResearcHERS: Women Fighting Cancer," a new initiative that engages women of influence to raise funds that directly support women-led cancer research.

The program spotlights the life experiences and discoveries of women in research and aims to inspire the next generation of girls to pursue their dreams of a career in science.

"One in 3 Americans will battle cancer in their lifetime and we need the best and brightest minds engaged in order to rid the world of this dreaded disease," said Carolyn Bruzdzinski, Ph.D., American Cancer Society Regional Cancer Control vice president. "Recognizing the unique challenges we face, women have expressed a strong interest in supporting scientifically sound women-led cancer research."

ResearcHERS of Illinois is being co-chaired by Cheryle R. Jackson, senior vice president of Global Business Development and president, AAR; and Michelle Le Beau, Ph.D., director of University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center. The co-chairs will be supported by an elite group of 100 Ambassadors committed to raise funds, serve as role models, and build awareness of the contributions of women in the fight against cancer.

"Our goal is to raise $500,000 in our first year," said Dr. Le Beau, who is a member of the American Cancer Society National Board of Directors. "As a former researcher myself, I am thrilled to be carrying the torch of the initial ResearcHERS campaign."

The American Cancer Society is the nation's largest, nongovernmental provider of cancer research funding, with more than $4.8 billion invested since 1946.

Women underrepresented in STEM

Progress is being made for women in science, technology, engineering and math in the U.S., especially in the life sciences; however, significant disparities exist.

According to the National Science Foundation's Science and Engineering Indicators 2018 report, women reached gender parity in biological and medical scientist occupations in 2015, holding 53 percent of jobs. Still, persistent challenges include women remaining in these professions and reaching the highest levels. A lack of adequate support, advancement opportunities, and pay and workload equity are contributing factors.

A study published this week in JAMA found that National Institutes of Health-awarded grants to first-time male awardees were $41,000 higher than first-time female awardees. …

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