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UI Health Honored with Breast Cancer ‘Provider Champion’ Award

Thursday, July 26, 2018

UI Health Honored with Breast Cancer ‘Provider Champion’ Award
Michael Zenn, CEO of the University of Illinois Hospital &
Clinics, and Eileen Knightly, director of the Hematology &
Oncology Clinic at UI Health at the Metropolitan Chicago Breast
Cancer Task Force’s annual Celebrating Life Gala on June 21.

The Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force honored UI Health with its Healthcare Provider Champion Award at its Celebrating Life Gala on June 21.

Eileen Knightly, director of the Hematology & Oncology Clinic at UI Health, presented the award to Michael Zenn, CEO of the University of Illinois Hospital & Clinics. Knightly is a founding member of the Task Force and currently serves as the executive board's vice president.

Over the past nine years, many UI Health providers and healthcare professionals have played an integral role in conducting research on cancer disparities: 

  • Richard Warnecke, PhD, emeritus professor at the School of Public Health
  • Garth Rauscher, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology, member of the University of Illinois Cancer Center, and a founding board member of the Task Force
  • Marilyn Willis, RN, MS, former staff member of the Institute of Health Research and Policy
  • Yamile Molina, PhD, assistant professor of community health sciences and member of the University of Illinois Cancer Center
  • Carol Ferrans, PhD, RN, FANN, Harriet H. Werley Endowed Chair in Nursing Research and member of the University of Illinois Cancer Center
  • Michael A. Warso, MD, surgical oncologist and member of the University of Illinois Cancer Center
  • Kent Hoskins, MD, medical oncologist and member of the University of Illinois Cancer Center
  • Karriem Watson, DHSc, MPH, MS, director of Community Engagement and Implementation Science at the University of Illinois Cancer Center  

Watson co-authored the Task Forces' most recent publication showing that breast cancer disparities are highly concentrated in younger women.

Beyond research, UI Health has been committed to making improvements in "our own system so as to improve access to high-quality healthcare for women here in Chicago," Zenn said. "We joined the Task Force's incredibly important project, the Chicago Breast Cancer Quality Consortium, to share our data and provide our expertise so that we could contribute to the improvement of breast care quality across the city."

UI Health also has donated hundreds of screening and diagnostic mammograms to the Task Force's Beyond October program for uninsured women, added Zenn.

"We are proud of our partnership with the Task Force, working together to understand the root causes of this disparity and to follow the data to develop solutions that work in a practical sense to make our healthcare system better," Zenn said. "Every woman deserves an equal chance at survival from breast cancer. The Task Force works with all of us ... and all across metro Chicago to make that goal a reality."

"It is a shared goal for UI Health, UIC, and the Task Force, and we will continue it until the job is done and every woman does, in reality, have an equal chance at survival."