A local doctor and founder of Long Beach-based nonprofit Treasure Your Chest, was named to the Susan G. Komen Orange County board of directors this month.
Dr. Robina Smith is a breast cancer surgeon at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton and founded her Long Beach nonprofit as a way to educate and spread awareness of the disease to the African American community.
“Komen has been at the forefront for community health education, advocacy, scientific research, global initiatives and awareness about breast cancer,” Smith said about how being on the board might further her goals in Long Beach and the Los Angeles region.”Komen is the second largest source of non-profit funding for breast cancer research second to the US government.”
The Board will guide the organization’s annual initiatives for the 2014-2015 year, focusing on raising money and providing life-saving diagnostic and treatments to breast cancer patients in Orange County. Smith, along with owner and founder of Simply Innoative LLC, Joseph Stein, will join the 11 other members of the board who last year helped provide low or no-cost mammograms and spearheaded several major fundraisers such as the Pink Tie Ball and Race for the Cure.
“Joseph and Robina’s unwavering support of Komen initiatives, coupled with their personal experiences with breast cancer, make them excellent contributors to our inspired board of directors,” said Komen Orange County executive director Lisa Wolter in a press release. “Our ongoing commitment to providing accessible breast health services in Orange County has introduced us to so many volunteers who are so deeply invested. We continue to be inspired by their dedication.”
Smith, who grew up in New York but has lived in California for seven years, said she knew she wanted to be a breast cancer surgeon by her third year of medical school. She started Treasure Your Chest in 2009 because Long Beach had a need for a dedicated breast cancer organization as it fell among the worst demographics of late diagnoses of the disease.
“Breast Cancer Awareness is important to the city of Long Beach because it has been identified the region SPA 8 has the highest proportions of late stage diagnosis, this includes Inglewood, Hawthorne, Lawndale and Long Beach,” Smith said. “In the greater Long Beach area 15% of the residents are African American. The incidence rate of late stage breast cancer diagnosis in African American women has more than doubled in the last 15 years.”
Susan G. Komen has worked to end breast cancer over the past 30 years, investing more than $750 million in breast cancer research and $1.5 billion in community outreach programs, providing funding to low-income and uninsured women for screening and treatment and advocating for research and outreach programs. The organization functions in more than 30 countries.