6th Annual Young Women’s Breast Health Day on the Hill: Focusing on Ending Disparities Facing Young Women Living with Breast Cancer
May 17, 2018
12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Thomas Jefferson Building
10 First Street, SE, Members Room, 1st Floor
Washington, DC 20540
Optional Transportation Methods to the Event:
Please find a link here that provides directions to the Library of Congress via several methods of transportation. All guests should enter the building through the Carriage entrance located on the ground floor and then proceed up to the Members Room (LJ-162). Directional signage will be displayed once inside the building.
6th Annual Young Women’s Breast Health Day on the Hill
Hosted in Partnership with Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-FL Rep. Wasserman Schultz represents Florida’s 23rd Congressional district. In the 113th Congress, as a ranking member of the Legislative Branch Subcommittee, she will serve on the subcommittee that determines the funding level for the entire legislative branch. Wasserman Schultz was also recommended to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. She also serves as a Chief Deputy Whip where she works to help advance legislation important to the Democratic caucus.
In March 2009, after announcing her own battle with breast cancer, Wasserman Schultz introduced the Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act, or EARLY Act (H.R. 1740), a piece of legislation that directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop and implement a national education campaign about the threat breast cancer poses to all young women, and the particular heightened risks of certain ethnic, cultural and racial groups. This bill became law as part of the Affordable Health Care Act in March, 2010.
In 2011, Rep. Wasserman Schultz joined the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, a bipartisan Members’ organization dedicated to promoting women’s economic, health, legal, and educational interests. Amongst her accomplishments is the passage of the PROTECT Our Children Act, which creates the largest law enforcement effort ever formed for the protection of children, and, the passage of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act to combat childhood drowning.
She is committed to lower health care costs, improve the quality of life for our children, protect Social Security and Medicare, and provide a sensible homeland security plan to protect our citizens from the ongoing threat of terror. She continues to fight to ensure that our first responders, our local police and firefighters, have the tools they need to do their jobs. And she continues to take up the fight to give our troops and veterans the equipment and compensation they deserve. The Congresswoman is proud to call South Florida home where she resides with her family in Weston.
Maimah Karmo is the Founder and CEO of the Tigerlily Foundation and an eight year survivor of breast cancer. On February 28, 2006, at 4:45 p.m., Maimah was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. She had no family history of breast cancer; and was only 32-years old. While undergoing her second round of chemotherapy, she made a promise to God that if she survived, she would create an organization to educate, empower, advocate for and support young women affected by breast cancer. After her second treatment, Tigerlily Foundation was born. Beginning in chemotherapy, Maimah grew Tigerlily Foundation from a concept to a national organization, with more than 300 volunteers nationwide, providing breast health, wellness and transformational programs to young women in more than 43 states.
In 2010, she received the Congressional Black Caucus Leadership in Advocacy Award, and the Running Start “Women to Watch Award”. In October 2011, Maimah was appointed to the Federal Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer in Young Women, a committee established by the Affordable Care Act, on which she works to develop initiatives to increase knowledge of breast health and breast cancer, for women under the age of 40 and those at heightened risk for developing the disease. She is regularly called upon to speak at/moderate panels on Capitol Hill, as a leader in the world of breast health, in addition to being a speaker at various leadership events focusing on women, youth, health, wellness, politics, advocacy and empowerment. Maimah has dedicated her life to transformation women around the world. She recently travelled to Antigua, on a breast health education campaign. As a native of Liberia, West Africa, she is embarking on a global women’s health campaign to educate women of color, minorities and women of all races about health and advocacy.
She is an author, and speaker, and she has appeared in various media outlets, to include O, the Oprah Magazine, Essence, Ladies Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Redbook, Traditional Home Magazine and Cancer, Cure Magazine and more. She has also been featured on Fox 5, ABC 7, CBS, the Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, MSNBC and national radio stations. In 2009, Maimah was awarded a L’Oreal Paris’ Woman of Worth award, among others. Most dear to her heart is her 12-year old daughter, Noelle. Noelle is now an advocate in her own right, hosting a national event, , called Pajama Glam Party, where she engages girls to become advocates and to have healthy lifestyles. She speaks to the media and is interviewed on her perspectives on youth advocacy, girls health, and leadership.
In 2010, Maimah published her memoir, Fearless: Awakening to my Life’s Purpose Through Breast Cancer, which was a best seller. She is also a sought after speaker, presenter and panelist. In 2013, she founded Bliss Magazine, a quarterly publication that inspires others to live their soul purpose.
Tigerlily Foundation’s Young Women’s Breast Health Day on the Hill was first held in 2009, in response to creating additional advocacy and awareness about the issues young breast cancer survivors faced. The Young Women’s Breast Health Day was launched after Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz signed into law the Breast Cancer Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young (EARLY) Act in 2010, which created an education and outreach campaign administered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to highlight the breast cancer risks facing young women and women of higher-risk ethnic and racial backgrounds, while empowering them with the tools they need to fight the disease. The EARLY Act also targets health care providers with education and information to ensure they are better equipped to catch breast cancer in young women. The CDC has accomplished numerous objectives through the Advisory Committee, enacted to oversee the work of the EARLY Act. This work includes identifying gaps in education and awareness among young women and health care providers; working to increase the quality of life of YBCS in terms of helping them cope with unique challenges they face, including fertility preservation, and long-term survivorship challenges, implementing social media campaigns to reach young women at risk, implementing a media campaign and through giving grants to organizations focused on helping YBCS.
To convene Members of Congress, staffers, advocates, breast cancer survivors, healthcare providers, national/local healthcare leaders, media, and community activists for a collaborative conversation to share the important work that is being done to impact breast cancer and young women, since the Breast Cancer Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young (EARLY) Act, spearheaded by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was passed. The event also focuses on the work that the Centers for Disease Control Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer in Young Women, national and local breast health groups have accomplished.
2016 Event Photos
2015 Event Photos
2015 Event Video
Mistress of Ceremonies
Elaine Espinola is a Television Producer and Host, Podcast Host, Spokesperson and Mrs. DC America 2015. During her reign, Elaine promoted the platform, Empowerment for Women through Entrepreneurship and she continues to advocate on behalf of small businesses and for the empowerment and women and girls everywhere.
Elaine is the Producer and Host of the television show, Capital Connect with Elaine Espinola, which airs on Comcast Community Cable. The show discusses national, regional and local topics with local leaders, aimed to inspire, inform and empower viewers. As the national podcast Host for the Better Business Bureau, Elaine interviews elite entrepreneurs and organizational founders on the latest trends on a variety of consumer topics.
Elaine is a spokesperson for the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Initiative and on the advisory board for the non-profit, Touching Heart, which teaches children the joy of giving.
Dr. David Weintritt
Dr. David Weintritt is a board certified breast surgeon and clinical assistant professor of surgery at the GW School of Medicine & Health Sciences. He is also founder of the National Breast Center and the National Breast Center Foundation. Dr. Weintritt completed his undergraduate and medical education at the University of Florida, and general surgery residency at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. After graduation, he served as a general surgeon in the Air Force at Andrews Air Force Base and clinical professor for the Uniform Services University of the Health Sciences. From there, he entered into private practice in Annapolis, MD and worked in the hospital’s new breast center; gaining experience in breast ultrasound and minimally invasive image guided procedures for breast disease. In 2003, Dr. Weintritt moved to Alexandria, VA and started a program for sentinel node biopsy and was the first to bring partial breast radiation and nipple sparing mastectomy to the area. In 2010, Dr. Weintritt was appointed director of the INOVA Mount Vernon Breast Care Institute. In 2012, Dr. Weintritt founded the National Breast Center to continue raising awareness of new treatment options and to expand services available for breast cancer patients. In 2014, Dr. Weintritt founded the National Breast Center Foundation with the goal of improving access to care, technology for breast cancer screening and treatment, and giving women in the Washington Metropolitan area the options they deserve.
Michelle Bronzo, MA, LPC, CT, Oncology Therapist
Michelle joined the Life with Cancer (LWC) staff as an oncology therapist in 2017 after working for 5 years as a hospice bereavement counselor for the Visiting Nurse Service of NY Hospice and Palliative Care program. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Certified Thanatologist (CT) specializing in grief and loss. Michelle received her master’s in mental health counseling from New York University in 2011 and her bachelor’s in psychology from Georgetown University in 2008.
In her current position, Michelle provides individual and group counseling for cancer patients and their families, helping them adjust to the wide impact a cancer diagnosis can have on the whole family system. She supports children and adolescents in the pediatric oncology program and adults in the adult oncology program.
Dr. Patricia Rodriguez, Director of Hereditary Cancer Risk Assessment Program at Virginia Cancer Specialists
Dr. Rodriguez attended Johns Hopkins University where she was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in biomedical engineering and was a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society. She received her medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine where she was a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. Dr. Rodriguez then completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and her fellowship in Hematology and Oncology at George Washington Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Rodriguez currently heads the Virginia Cancer Specialists Hereditary Cancer Risk Assessment Program. She has been a member of the US Oncology GREAT (Genetic Risk Evaluation and Treatment Program) Executive Committee since 2013, and she regularly speaks on the subject of genetics. Dr. Rodriguez remains active in other areas of the medical community as well. She serves as a Clinical Assistant Professor at Georgetown University Medical Center, is a member of the Executive Committee for the Arlington Medical Society, and is involved with the Arlington Free Clinic. Her professional memberships include the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Society of Hematology.
Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Dr. Rodriguez speaks both fluent Spanish and French. She enjoys music and plays guitar in an Irish band.
Shawn Johnson, Harvard Medical School, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, The Metastatic Breast Cancer Project
Shawn Johnson is a medical student in the Pathways M.D. program at Harvard Medical School. He graduated with his Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Biophysics from Oregon State University in 2012. After completing his degree, he conducted biomedical research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston for five years, where he published on mechanisms of resistance to PARP inhibitors in BRCA-associated triple-negative breast cancer. Additionally, he has worked with Dr. Corrie Painter and Dr. Nikhil Wagle at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT on developing culturally competent patient outreach initiatives dedicated to increasing enrollment of African-American breast cancer patients in the Metastatic Breast Cancer Project. His academic focus is on understanding how the history of medical abuse/racism led to contemporary issues in healthcare disparities, namely patient-physician mistrust in historically marginalized communities and the underrepresentation of minority patients in clinical trials, clinical research, and patient advocacy. He passionately believes advocacy in healthcare and medical research share extensive similarities with other historical and contemporary social movements for equality, in that failing to address intersectionality can lead to social movements that predominantly benefit majority groups and exacerbate preexisting inequity.
Shay Sharpe, Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes
Shay had both of her breasts removed 1 week prior to her 27th birthday, due to Stage III breast cancer. Although she had a bilateral mastectomy in 2004, the breast cancer returned exactly 10 years later, at age 36.
Even though this beautiful young woman doesn’t fit society’s norms, she has been featured on countless documentaries, photo shoots and media outlets around the world including the Today Show, Allure Magazine, Barcroft Media, People and Huffington Post to name a few.
Shay is also the President of Shay Sharpe’s Pink Wishes, a 501(c)3 non profit organization, founded in 2011, that educates, offers one on one peer support, advocates, restores hope, provides college scholarships and grants wishes to young women and children who have been affected by breast cancer. SSPW is based in Baltimore, Maryland but they assist women nationally.
In addition to being a community leader, volunteer, mentor and new grandmother, Shay also sits on the Stakeholder Advisory Board for the Young Women’s Initiative, a joint venture with Johns Hopkins Hospital and the CDC.
Jill Mull is the Education and Outreach Patient Navigator at Johns Hopkins Greenspring Station. At age 32, Jill was diagnosed with breast cancer. After being treated at Johns Hopkins, she volunteered with The American Cancer Society, Hadassah, The Associated Jewish Charities and The Tyanna Foundation. As a patient navigator, she works with the medical team to assist all young women diagnosed with breast cancer throughout their care and co-leads two Young Women Support Groups for Early Stage Breast Cancer and for Young Women living with Metastatic Disease. She connects patients to helpful resources reducing barriers to care. Jill also leads an initiative to increase awareness and education in the Jewish community regarding breast cancer risk and screening. Jill is the liaison for The John Fetting Fund for Breast Cancer Prevention, which champions research for preventing breast cancer.
Arin Ahlum Hanson, MPH, Associate Director, Living Beyond Breast Cancer
Arin manages Living Beyond Breast Cancer Young Women’s Initiative and oversees the research, evaluation, development and execution of educational programs related to premenopausal women diagnosed with breast cancer. Arin also manages LBBC’s three leadership volunteer training programs for people diagnosed with breast cancer. Arin has worked at Living Beyond Breast Cancer since 2009.
Arin received her bachelor’s degree in peace and global studies and women’s studies from Earlham College and her master’s degree in public health in health behavior and health education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Larissa Podermanski, Blogger, Metastatically Speaking
In 2015, Larissa was newly engaged and planning her future while building a non-profit to help individuals with intellectual disabilities. Just after celebrating her 30th birthday in January 2016, Larissa felt as though her life and happiness had crashed into pieces after finding a lump in her left breast, and eventually she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She endured the difficult road through a double mastectomy, but soon returned to the Emergency Room in pain to be upgraded to Stage IV, non-curable metastatic breast cancer. Although this was devastating, Larissa was compelled to live her life to its fullest and her dream of marrying her long-time love came true as they were married six days later. Within a few short weeks, Larissa fractured her collar bone and discovered that her breast cancer had also metastasized to her bone, hip and liver.
Larissa is truly an inspiration as she refuses to allow breast cancer to redefine her joy in life. Despite lifelong ongoing treatment, Larissa continues to advocate for more funding for metastatic breast cancer research and awareness. She also embraces the beauty in each day, including the difficult ones where she is pushing through her illness and treatment. She has joined Tigerlily Foundation to share more of her unique journey.
Brittany Gregory, Tigerlily Foundation Angel Advocate
Brittany Gregory is a 22 year old student who will soon be graduating from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. She will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education. Her hometown is Winston Salem, North Carolina and she is the youngest of three siblings including her two older brothers Jonathan and Brandon.
Just a year ago in May 2017, at just 21 years old, Brittany was diagnosed with Stage 2 ER+, PR+, HER2-Negative Breast Cancer. Although there was no family history of breast cancer on either side of her family, and she tested negative for BRCA, she received the surprising diagnosis requiring she and her family to quickly make treatment and lifestyle decisions. Brittany will share more about her experience as a young woman undergoing a double mastectomy, fertility preservation and chemotherapy.
Brittany’s personal experience and newfound knowledge gained throughout her journey has driven her desire to support and empower other young women enduring similar challenges with breast cancer. Brittany’s courageous first step in helping other young women was to join forces with Tigerlily Foundation as an Angel Advocate to share her unique insight and bring awareness about breast cancer in young women.
A special thanks to Kendra Scott – Mosaic District for supporting Tigerlily Foundation!