Dr. Michele Halyard named All of Us Arizona Health Champion for her work on cancer education initiatives in the African American community

Carrie Whitten Simmons
All of Us Research Program, UArizona-Banner

PHOENIX (Feb. 28, 2022) –  The All of Us Research Program University of Arizona-Banner Health created the Arizona Health Champion award series to recognize health professionals, educators, community partners and researchers who are dedicated to increasing diversity and accessibility in health care. An initiative of the National Institutes of Health, the All of Us Research Program, led by University of Arizona and Banner Health in Arizona and Colorado, aims to build the largest and most diverse database of health information of its kind to improve health for future generations.

The February Arizona Health Champion recipient, Michele Halyard, MD, is the co-founder and president of the Coalition of Blacks Against Breast Cancer (CBBC). The CBBC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support for breast cancer survivors and their supporters, as well as providing education about breast health to the African American community. Halyard is also a radiation oncologist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, the Suzanne Hanson Poole Vice Dean of Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine and the dean of Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine – Arizona Campus.

Dr. Halyard is passionate about reducing health disparities related to cancer in minority communities.

“Nationally and within Arizona, Black women are more often diagnosed at a later stage of disease, have more aggressive breast cancer and have a lower overall survival rate, even with early-stage disease,” she says. “We started CBBC to provide a network of support for Black breast cancer patients and their supporters and to create a trusted source for health information and education on breast cancer topics in the Black community.”

The organization holds educational sessions, often with Mayo Clinic speakers, trains community health workers in outreach strategies in minority communities and holds monthly survivor support meetings.

“As one of the most influential leaders in the community, Dr. Halyard is recognized for her true passion for meeting the needs of African American women diagnosed with breast cancer. It is because of her unapologetic advocacy for a just community, we honor her,” says Dr. Angela Allen, associate nurse clinical research program director at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix and co-chair of the All of Us UArizona-Banner Participant Engagement Board.

One of the core values of the All of Us Research Program is that participants reflect the rich diversity of the United States. All of Us UArizona-Banner currently leads the country in enrollment with more than 50,000 participants. Almost 75% of those participants are underrepresented in biomedical research; about 44% of participants are from a racial or ethnic group that has been underrepresented.

Once a participant is enrolled, their de-identified information is available for researchers to study. There are currently more than 1,000 studies using All of Us Research Program’s de-identified participant data. Researchers are studying how factors like genetics, environment and lifestyle affect the way in which diseases and medications impact individuals differently. Many of these studies focus on health disparities in the African American community, including maternal morbidity in childbirth, gastrointestinal disorders and high blood pressure as it pertains to stroke risk.

To learn more, or to enroll, visit AllofUsAZ.org or call 877-268-2684.

The University of Arizona-Banner Health Program is supported under the National Institutes of Health All of Us Research Program funding award OT2OD026549 with previous awards UG3OD023171-01 and UG3OD023171-01S1 and the CEAL funding award OT2-HL156812.

All of Us” and the All of Us logo are registered service marks of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).

About Banner Health: Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health is one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system owns and operates 30 acute-care hospitals, Banner Health Network, Banner – University Medicine, Banner Medical Group, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services, including Banner Urgent Care, family clinics, home care and hospice services, pharmacies and a nursing registry. Banner Health is in six states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information visit www.BannerHealth.com.

About the University of Arizona Health Sciences
Located on campuses in Tucson and Phoenix, the University of Arizona Health Sciences is one of the top-ranked academic medical centers in the southwestern United States. UArizona Health Sciences includes the College of Medicine – Phoenix, College of Medicine – Tucson, College of Nursing, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, and R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy. In addition, 12 UArizona Health Sciences centers and programs focus on cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, pain and addiction, and respiratory diseases; biomedical informatics, health technology innovation and simulation training; and precision health care and health disparities. A leader in next-generation education, biomedical research and public outreach, UArizona Health Sciences employs nearly 5,000 people, has approximately 4,000 students and 900 faculty members, and garners more than $220 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: uahs.arizona.edu (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Instagram).

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