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Women in Government Honors Significant Efforts to Help Eliminate Cervical Cancer

Washington, DC --- Nov. 18, 2006 --- Women In Government, a non-profit, bi-partisan organization representing women state legislators in the United States, last night presented its Presidential Leadership Awards to individuals and groups that are advancing efforts to eliminate cervical cancer worldwide. Dr. Julie Louise Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gave the keynote address at the awards dinner held at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, DC. Dr. Donnica Moore, a nationally known women's health expert, served as the event's emcee. The awards dinner was part of Women In Government's second annual HPV & Cervical Cancer Summit.

"With the availability of a preventive vaccine and more sophisticated diagnostic screening, such as HPV testing, our country is on the threshold of an incredible era in which cervical cancer could potentially be eliminated," said Susan Crosby, president of Women In Government. "Through their vision and daily actions, the individuals Women In Government honored are bringing us one step closer to achieving this goal."

Those honored were:

  • Christine Baze, founder, Popsmear.org - This Boston-based musician and cervical cancer survivor is using her voice to raise awareness about cervical cancer and the human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer, through her non-profit organization, Popsmear.org and her national Yellow Umbrella concert tour.
  • Tamika Felder, founder, Tamika & Friends - This Washington, DC-based cervical cancer survivor has formed a national nonprofit organization that raises awareness about cervical cancer and HPV through a network of survivors and their friends.
  • Pernessa Seele, president and CEO, The Balm In Gilead - Ms. Seele has created the Balm In Gilead's "ISIS Project," which uses faith-based, educational outreach to combat cervical cancer disparities among African American women in the U.S.
  • Dr. Juan Felix, professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California - Dr. Felix has helped bring cervical cancer screening to underserved women in Los Angeles and around the world and he has been a vocal advocate for reducing cervical cancer disparities.
  • Sen. Gloria Lawlah, Maryland State Legislature - Sen. Lawlah was among the nation's first state legislators to successfully introduce a bill requiring insurance companies to cover HPV testing for age-appropriate women as part of screening. Her efforts also led to creation of a committee charged with developing a statewide plan to prevent cervical cancer.
  • Sen. Beverly Hammerstrom, Michigan State Legislature - Sen. Hammerstrom introduced the nation's first legislation that would add the HPV vaccine to the state's list of required immunizations for girls entering the sixth grade. She also led efforts to create a state task force to promote cervical cancer awareness.
  • Sen. Liz Figueroa, California State Legislature - Sen. Figueroa's legislation recently made California the fifth state to require insurers to cover HPV testing as part of cervical cancer screening. She also successfully introduced legislation creating a statewide cervical cancer awareness campaign.
  • Dr. Marie Savard, internist and nationally known women's health expert - Based in Philadelphia, Dr. Savard travels the country speaking to women about how to take charge of their own health, particularly when it comes to cervical cancer prevention.
  • National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program - This CDC program provides screening and diagnostic services to underserved women in the U.S. Since it began in 1991, the program has provided more than 6.5 million screening examinations, detected 88,000 pre-cancerous cervical lesions and diagnosed 1,700 cervical cancers.
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - The Foundation's $50 million grant between 1999 and 2004 enabled creation of the Alliance for Cervical Cancer Prevention (ACCP), which aims to prevent cervical cancer in developing countries through innovative screening, treatment and healthcare delivery systems.
  • Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) - PAHO's work in the Americas has helped improve cervical cancer screening rates and is now also increasing access to lifesaving technologies, such as HPV vaccines.

"The efforts and achievements of those honored last night are truly impressive and inspirational," said Dr. Donnica Moore. "Their great work should inspire others to make cervical cancer eradication a priority. By working together, we have the potential to eliminate cervical cancer deaths in our life time."

The awards dinner was held in conjunction with Women In Government's second annual HPV & Cervical Cancer Summit. The Summit is the nation's largest cervical cancer gathering of state lawmakers, medical experts, advocates and public health officials, and is designed to develop national strategies for eliminating cervical cancer in the United States.

In 2004 Women In Government launched the Challenge to Eliminate Cervical Cancer Campaign, which engages state legislators nationwide in policy and awareness initiatives to advance cervical cancer prevention. To date, 45 states have introduced legislation or resolutions aimed at cervical cancer elimination. Women In Government is a national, 501(c)(3), non-profit, bi-partisan organization of women state legislators providing leadership opportunities, networking, expert forums and educational resources to address and resolve complex public policy issues. For more information, visit www.womeningovernment.org.

Created: 11/11/2006  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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