M. D. Anderson Forms New Advisory Board
M. D. Anderson Forms New Advisory Board
Twenty-One Business and Community Leaders from Across Nation Sign-On
M. D. Anderson News Release 06/27/01
A new team is gearing up to advance the cause of cancer research, prevention and education.
To enhance its commitment to excellence and future growth, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center has launched the Advance Team. The new group of "next generation" community and business leaders will serve in an advisory capacity but with a more specific, activist role. Their efforts will focus upon advancing the cause of cancer prevention through community outreach and public education.
M. D. Anderson has been working on the concept and subsequent formation of the Advance Team for more than two years, and 21 individuals from around the country have committed to join the inaugural effort. The team eventually will recruit 60 members. "As more and more professionals are reaching a certain level of business success, we are finding, like the generations before, they want to give back and make a difference," explains Roy M. Spence Jr., president and co-founder of Austin-based GSD&M Advertising, who is chairing M. D. Anderson's newly formed Advance Team.
"This 'next generation' of civic leaders has talents and, just as importantly, passion for getting involved, assimilation of new learning and then applying that talent and passion towards missions that can create new ways to improve the quality of life of those around them. M. D. Anderson's Advance Team offers these dedicated people a potentially powerful and measurable way to help spread the word on cancer prevention."
Almost from the beginning of the process, Spence has worked with M. D. Anderson leadership to establish a specific mission for the advisory group as well as identify other interested individuals like himself — most are between 30 and 50 years of age — to launch the concept. The Advance Team’s initial area of interest is skin cancer awareness, and its first specific charge is developing a marketing plan to promote sun awareness and its impact on skin cancer prevention. Among the target audiences will be school children in grades three through eight — the age group for which M. D. Anderson’s highly successful Project S.A.F.E.T.Y. teaching series was developed. Project S.A.F.E.T.Y. (Sun Awareness for Educating Today’s Youth) — originally made up of videotapes, slides, overheads and pamphlets — was first completed in 1995 and distributed to schools around Texas. But thanks to funding from the Texas Cancer Council, M.D. Anderson has updated the program for elementary and middle school aged students in a more manageable CD-ROM format.
"The incidence of melanoma (a type of skin cancer) is increasing at epidemic proportions, and it is one of the most preventable cancers," explains Dr. Michael Ahearn, who has pioneered the project and is dean of Allied Health Sciences at M. D. Anderson. "Project Safety is our opportunity to see that important educational information gets out to the youth of this nation when it can do some good, when they are in the window of vulnerability and when it can make a decided difference." The Advance Team is working to finalize a marketing approach by this fall in conjunction with the availability of the CD-ROM versions.
Joining Spence as founding members of the Advance Team from the Houston area are Andrew M. "Drew" Alexander, Tali Blumrosen, Charles "Chad" Fox, Alan Helfman, Bradley N. Howell, Catherine Daniel Kaldis, Beth Lee, Sheryl Rapp, Angela Teas Schroder, Randa Duncan Williams and Kathryn Hall Wilson.
Other new members are Paula Meek Burford and Kathy O'Neal of Dallas; William H. "Beau" Armstrong and Jay Watson of Austin, Texas; Leslie Brier of Tulsa, Oklahoma; Thomas M. Coughlin of Bentonville, Arkansas, Timothy W. Finchem of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida; Constance "Gretchen" Lash of Deerfield, Illinois; and Martha Morrow of Columbus, Georgia.