Honors for Cancer Health Disparities director and students

Elena Martínez, PhD, MPH
Elena Martínez, PhD, MPH

Elena Martínez, PhD, MPH, has been appointed Chairperson for the Minorities in Cancer Research (MICR) Council, a membership group within the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

Martínez holds dual positions at the Arizona Cancer Center as co-director of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program and director of the Cancer Health Disparities Institute and is Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.

The AACR is the oldest and largest scientific organization in the world focused on every aspect of high-quality, innovative cancer research. Its reputation for scientific breadth and excellence attract the premier researchers in the field.

MICR has more than 3,000 members committed to preventing and curing cancer while meeting the professional needs and advancing the careers of minority scientists. The MICR Council is the leadership body of MICR which advises the AACR Board on issues of concern to minority investigators and spearheads programs and activities that address various issues affecting minority cancer researchers, cancer in minority populations, and other relevant topics.

Rachel L. Zenuk, a Komen fellow in the Arizona Cancer Center’s Breast Cancer Disparities post-baccalaureate training program, received the outstanding Master in Public Health student award from the UA’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health during Spring 2010 commencement.

Zenuk is working on the ELLA Binational Breast Cancer Study at the Arizona Cancer Center, the first study of its kind to compare breast cancer in women of Mexican ancestry on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border to better understand their risk for specific types of breast cancer. She conducts research into factors that influence screening mammography among African American and Hispanic women with breast cancer.

Mary C. Garcia, an undergraduate in the Department of Physiology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, was honored with a Merrill P. Freeman Medal at the Spring 2010 UA commencement ceremony. The medals, which are awarded annually to one male and one female student selected by the UA administration, recognize individuals whose contributions through co-curricular and community activities and leadership have had a positive impact on the UA and surrounding community.

As a participant in the UA Minority Health Disparities Summer Research Program, Garcia worked with Patricia Thompson, PhD, co-principal investigator for the ELLA Binational Breast Cancer Study and assistant professor of public health at the UA College of Public Health. Garcia received a bachelor of health sciences degree in physiology, with a minor in Spanish, and graduated cum laude and with honors. Her senior honors thesis examined the importance of family history in breast cancer risk assessment.