Capital Breast Care Center Event Commemorates Activist

Posted in GUMC Stories

FEBRUARY 28, 2014—The staff of Capital Breast Care Center (CBCC) (new window) commemorated a breast cancer activist whose memory inspires their work at a recent ceremony.

CBCC hosted an event Feb. 19 to dedicate a mammography room to the late Zora Brown, a three-time breast cancer survivor who succumbed to the disease in 2013. Brown’s fight served to harden her resolve to advocate for disadvantaged women, particularly African American women, whom she believed did not have the same access to information, services and care as more privileged women.

Brown’s friends and family joined CBCC staff and other invited guests for the ceremony at the center, located in southeast D.C. CBCC is a community-based arm of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center (new window) that offers breast health services to underserved women, regardless of their ability to pay.

Guests included Brown’s nieces, Monica Brissett and Melanie Nix; Alexine Jackson, current chair of the CBCC Advisory Council; and Vivian Pinn, MD, first full-time director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health. Also on hand were Georgetown Lombardi faculty: Lucile Adams-Campbell, PhD (new window), associate director for minority health and health disparities research and professor of oncology; Jeanne Mandelblatt, MD, PhD, MPH (new window), associate director for population sciences and professor of oncology and medicine; and Vanessa Sheppard, PhD (new window), associate professor of oncology.   

Adams-Campbell, a friend of Brown’s for 25 years, said Brown always fought for what she knew was right.

“If you know nothing else about her, you should know that she was an impetus in influencing the current mammography screening guidelines,” Adams-Campbell said.

CBCC Executive Director Wanda Lucas said that, while she had never met Brown, she always appreciated her influence and her trailblazing spirit in helping to pave the way for CBCC. Brown supported Mandelblatt’s efforts to open the center in 2004.

Brown’s nieces, Brissett and Nix, proudly mounted their aunt’s plaque on the wall outside of the mammography room, sharing that they were glad that CBCC is “carrying on the work that she felt so strongly about.” 

The plaque bears Brown’s powerful quote: “We can no longer be immobilized by fear.”

The ceremony comes on the heels of an event held last June (new window) at Arena Stage to honor Brown’s memory.

By Erin McLeod and Lauren Wolkoff