New Haven Breast Cancer Symposium

Komen New England Breast Cancer Symposium
From Disparities to Equity

In 2016, Susan G. Komen® announced our bold goal: by 2026, reduce current rates of breast cancer mortality in the U.S. by 50%. Join us on November 17, 2017, for our second Breast Cancer Symposium of the year in New Haven. Attendees will hear from Komen Scholars, patient navigators, researchers, and leaders. Attendees will learn about current state of breast cancers disparities in Connecticut and around the country, as well as successful strategies to address those inequities.

Topics include:

  • Getting to equity: the role of public policy in reducing disparities
  • The role of patient navigation in addressing inequities
  • Disparities in genetic testing
  • Creating equitable care for cancer patients with mental illness
  • Social determinants of breast health disparities and clinical trial participation


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Darcey Cobbs-Lomax, MBA, MPH

Darcey Cobbs-Lomax, is a native of Bridgeport, CT.  Her academic background includes a Bachelors of Arts degrees in French and Finance from Florida State University, a Masters of Business Administration Degree from Georgia State University, and a Masters of Public Health Degree from Walden University.

Her career has balanced between the public sector, municipal government, and healthcare, with a focus on community health, access to care, quality of care and health outcomes for various populations. Darcey served previously in the Mayoral appointed position of Director of Elderly Services for the City of New Haven, as the Ambulatory Care Manager for the Infectious Disease Clinic at Harlem Hospital Center and as the Research Manager/Manager of Business Operations for the Yale/Yale-New Haven Hospital Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation. She currently holds the position of Executive Director, Project Access of New Haven, a nonprofit organization with the vision of being ‘the community champion for access to care for those most in need.

While her career keeps her busy, she also serves on several community councils, is a Girl Scout Troop Leader, and enjoys riding her bike. But, what she enjoys most is caring for and spending time with her husband and four children.

Tekisha Dwan Everette, MD

Dr. Tekisha Dwan Everette’s passion for social justice was fueled by her personal experiences and influences as a child. As a youth, she experienced delays in diagnosing asthma and faced challenges accessing and navigating the health care system. These experiences gave Everette first-hand knowledge of the importance of health and health care access. This, combined with her admiration for social justice trailblazers such as Thurgood Marshall, Barbara Jordan, and Sandra Day O’Conner, inspired Everette to dedicate her life’s work toward eradicating health care inequities through advocacy and policy.

Everette has built a successful career in public policy, particularly health care policy, and advocacy in the non-profit, state, and private sectors. Before taking the helm of Health Equity Solutions (HES), she served as the Managing Director of Federal Government Affairs for the American Diabetes Association, where she provided strategic leadership on policy and advocacy initiatives with the White House, several federal agencies, and Congress, which led to important victories for people with and at risk for diabetes. Prior to this, Everette worked as a government relations consultant with Drinker, Biddle, and Reath, LLC, where she represented the interests of several nonprofit health care organizations on issues such as health reform, Medicare, Medicaid, and federal appropriations. Everette has also worked for the Service Employees International Union, RESI, the State of Maryland, and the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation.

Everette earned her doctorate in Sociology from American University with a concentration in race, gender, and social justice as it relates to social policy.  She received her Master’s of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Center of Public Administration and Policy at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University (popularly known as Virginia Tech) and holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and Interdisciplinary Studies from the same institution.

Everette is an alumna of the Masters Series for Distinguished Leaders and the National Urban Fellows America’s Leaders of Change program. She is a lifetime member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Association of Black Sociologists, and serves on the board for the Washington, DC Metropolitan affiliate of Girls, Inc.

When Everette is not advocating for health care policy and social justice, she enjoys fulfilling her thirst for cultural enrichment through travel. She believes seeing the world helps one to expand their worldview and cultural understanding and her goal is to visit every US city and touch every continent at least once.  In her spare time, Everette enjoys listening to music, writing poetry, dancing, and cooking.

Cary Gross, MD

Dr. Cary Gross is Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology and the Director of the National Clinician Scholars Program at Yale.  As Director of the Cancer Outcomes Public Policy and Effectiveness Research (COPPER) Center at Yale, the over-arching theme of his work is the disconnect between evidence generated from clinical research and the actual needs of people with cancer.  He uses comparative effectiveness studies and policy-relevant research to address this important knowledge gap.  As a general internist, Dr. Gross and his colleagues have used state of the art techniques including social network analysis and hierarchical modeling to yield new insights about the complex interplay between health policy, clinical decision-making, and patient-centered outcomes. He also has a long-standing interest in understanding the determinants of cancer disparities.


Lajos Pusztai, MD

Dr. Pusztai is Professor of Medicine at Yale University, Director of Breast Cancer Translational Research and Co-Director of the Yale Cancer Center Genomics Genetics and Epigenetics Program. He is also Chair of the Breast Cancer Research Committee of the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG). Dr. Pusztai received his medical degree from the Semmelweis University of Medicine in Budapest, and his D.Phil. degree from the University of Oxford in England. His research group has made important contributions to establish that estrogen receptor-positive and-negative breast cancers have fundamentally different molecular, clinical and epidemiological characteristics. He has been a pioneer in evaluating gene expression profiling as a diagnostic technology to predict chemotherapy and endocrine therapy sensitivity and has shown that different biological processes are involved in determining the prognosis and treatment response in different breast cancer subtypes. He made important contributions to clarify the clinical value of preoperative (neoadjuvant) chemotherapy in different breast cancer subtypes. Dr Pusztai is also principal investigator of several clinical trials investigating new drugs, including immunotherapies for breast cancer. He has published over 250 scientific manuscripts in high impact medical journals including the NEJM, JAMA, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Nature Biotechnology, PNAS, Lancet Oncology and JNCI. He is among the top 1% most highly cited investigators in clinical medicine according to a 2015 Thomson Reuters report. He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and a Susan Komen Scholar.

Ilene Staff, PhD.

Ilene Staff has been a Senior Scientist at Hartford Hospital since 2000. She earned her Ph.D. in Social Psychology at Columbia University. She has approximately forty years of experience in applied research in health, social services, education, and government settings. At Hartford Hospital, she has worked primarily with the departments of Oncology, Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Urology, Emergency Medicine, and Orthopedics, collaborating with all on proposal design and analysis. Seventy manuscripts resulting from these collaborations have been published in professional journals and presented at professional conferences. Prior to working at Hartford Hospital, she had research experience in the areas of birth to three and child welfare and served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut Health Center


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