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A Gift for the Women of Northern Manhattan: Columbia University Medical Center Receives Avon Foundation Gift for Health Scholar

NEW YORK (Dec 9, 2002)

Columbia University Medical Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital has received a $150,000 gift from the Avon Foundation to provide partial salary support over three years for an Avon Women's Health Scholar. The scholar will focus on breast cancer and other women's health problems in the largely Latino and African-American population of Washington Heights, where the medical center is located.

"We are deeply grateful to the Avon Foundation for this generous grant," said Dr. Elsa-Grace V. Giardina, director of Columbia University Medical Center's Center for Women's Health, which will administer the grant. "With a primary focus on breast cancer prevention and early detection, the scholar will develop protocols to educate women from diverse backgrounds on lifestyle changes that would reduce risk factors for breast cancer as well as for the other major killers of women, including heart disease and stroke."

Dr. Giardina, who also is professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, continued: "Drawing on the expertise of the Center for Women's Health and other key programs, including the Avon Breast Cancer Care and Research Program at Columbia University Medical Center, the scholar will develop model preventive health programs with a focus on breast cancer; will address key risk factors in the underserved women of northern Manhattan; and will refer women for breast cancer screening to the Avon Foundation facilities at Columbia University Medical Center."

The first Avon Scholar will be named soon, Dr. Giardina added: "We look forward to the opportunity to link Avon's name to our efforts to train and support talented young faculty as they embark on careers aimed at improving preventive health and treatment for women. The Avon Scholarship in Women's Health will allow the integration of the most advanced preventive knowledge about breast cancer into a comprehensive educational package that will help all women to maintain their health and prevent disease."

The Avon Foundation recently announced the gift as one of 13 new grants, totaling nearly $30 million, from funds raised by the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, whose mission is to fund access to care and to find a cure for breast cancer. In recent years, the Avon Foundation has been a major supporter of breast cancer research and treatment at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and has made gifts to both main Manhattan sites of the Hospital. In 2000, the Avon Foundation gave two gifts totaling $12.2 million to the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia University Medical Center. This year, it is giving, in addition to the Women's Health Scholar Gift, $250,000 for a meditation-based stress reduction program at the Hospital's Weill Cornell Medical Center.

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