2016 Research and Educational Grants

To date, CT BHI has awarded $3.6 million in Connecticut research grants.

Congratulations to Dr. Kristen Zarfos, M.D., Alicia Dugan, Ph.D., Anees Chagpar, M.D., and Kate Reed for winning the 2016 CTBHI Grant Awards.

Kristen Zarfos, MD, FACS

Surgical Director at the Comprehensive Breast Health Center at The Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at The Hospital of Central Connecticut.

Dr. Zarfos specializes in breast and thyroid surgery. Additionally, she is an assistant professor of surgery at UConn School of Medicine and is a recipient of numerous accolades and recognitions.

The grant awarded to Dr. Zarfos is for a study which examines the incidences of breast cancer rates and stages of breast cancer in young African American women using ultrasound screening technology. This study is groundbreaking, considering the high incidences of breast cancer found in young African American women. Objectives of this program include: educating, recruiting and screening 150 young African American women for breast cancer annually and funding and diagnosing breast cancer in woman who do not meet the guidelines for screening due to their young age.

Alicia Dugan, Ph.D. of UConn Health

Dr. Dugan is an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist, Assistant Professor of Medicine and an Assistant Director of Cancer Prevention and Control at UConn Health. She was awarded the research grant titled “Improving Breast Cancer Survivors’ Return to Work Experiences.” This grant will contribute evidence that will identify the individual and organizational support factors that improve the quality of return to work experiences for breast cancer survivors.

Returning to work is a critical part of survivorship and many breast cancer survivors face work related conflicts as they attempt to have a balance between their work life and management of the disease and its treatment. Dr. Dugan along with her design team will look at the data gathered from around Connecticut to make a difference in improving the quality of life for breast cancer survivors.

Anees Chagpar, MD Director of The Breast Center, Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven.

Dr. Chagpar additionally is an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at Yale’s School of Medicine, and the Assistant Director for Global Oncology at Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The CT BHI Cathy D’Apice Memorial grant was presented to Dr. Chagpar, for her “Shave2, A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial Routine Cavity Shave Margins vs. Standard Partial Mastectomy” project. Most women with early stage breast cancer opt for a partial mastectomy or “lumpectomy” to remove their cancer. In this operation, it is important that the surgeon remove not only the tumor but normal tissue all the way around it. Sometimes, despite a surgeon’s best efforts, cancer cells may be found at the edge of the specimen when the pathologist examines the tissue after the fact under the microscope. In these circumstances, the patient must be operated on again to try to obtain normal tissue around the cancer. This can lead to an increase in patient anxiety and expenses. Chagpar’s study aims to determine if taking a little more tissue at the time of the initial surgery could spare patients further surgery. She and her team at Yale had demonstrated that this was true in their hands, but now seek to prove this in a larger study involving various practice settings around the nation.

Kate Reed, MPH, ScM, CGC, director

Clinical and Continuing Education Program at The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), was honored with the “Jean Cushing Memorial Grant.” The community education award honors Jean Cushing, an important member of the CT BHI family, who bequeathed money to the organization following her passing. This grant will allow Reed and JAX to provide those touched by breast cancer with high quality education about the role that genomics plays in order to assist them in making informed decisions regarding their own or a loved one’s care. Through a series of lectures, JAX will share information about genomics, breast cancer and the future of precision medicine with the general public in Connecticut and beyond.