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Two decades of fighting breast cancer
Video transcript:

Mhel Kananaugh-Lynch: The California Breast Cancer Research Program was envisioned to be a leader in innovation and new directions of breast cancer research from the day it was founded. From the very beginning, the California Breast Cancer Research Program has included advocates and survivors in all of its decision-making and in its scientific peer review. There's no other program in the country I know that takes advocacy involvement to this level.

Sora Park Tanjasiri: They are there to ensure that the design, the development, the implementation and the dissemination of research findings feed back into communities to improve the health and breast cancer rates of communities across the state. As a breast cancer researcher, I've been very concerned about the influence of environment on our community's health and CBCRP has been so unique because they launched the special cancer research initiative to focus in this area.

Mhel Kavanaugh-Lynch: One of the things the California Breast Cancer Research Program has tried to do over the last twenty years is bring new people with new ideas and new approaches into the field of breast cancer research. Meg Schwarzman was not a breast cancer researcher before she met us, but we developed a project that we thought would be very important to the world of breast cancer and she's one of the people that we reached out to to say we need a certain piece of work done; can you do that work for us?

Megan Schwarzman: So, I'm associate director of the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry here on campus and it's an interdisciplinary center that brings together law and policy and chemistry and chemical health and natural resources. The objective was to really fit into some changes in chemicals' policy that were anticipated to be coming down the pipe; both California and nationally that would increase the amount of testing that would be done for chemicals. And the objective was to fit into those in such a way that as chemical testing increased, we made sure that we were testing chemicals in such a way to discover those that might contribute to breast cancer. It is important to think about occupations because there are some chemically-intensive ones. As researchers, we really rely on the people who are doing the outreach to affected communities to transmit the message.

Mary Anne Foo: Every day our community health workers go door-to-door, they go into beauty salons, temples, churches - wherever the community is to educate them about breast health and overall health care, how to access it, to dispel any myths and make sure that they're getting anything that they need. Prior to the California BCRP there was very little research going on around Asian and Pacific Islander women and breast cancer. There was a lot of misunderstandings or myths that were going on in the community, women were not getting screened. The research that we were able to do in partnership with many researchers really helped us to get the word out and to get education out. Find out which interventions would work with the community. Without BCRP, we'd never be able to do that.

Mhel Kavanaugh-Lynch: I'm not the only one who says this, but I say it with my whole heart: I hope we put ourselves out of business. It keeps us hard at work every day - saying what can we do more of, what can we do better?