Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Announces Recipients of its Inaugural Community Action Award

Kidney specialist Bessie Young, M.D., and Safeway Inc. honored for their community support

SEATTLE — Dec. 6, 2004 — Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center on Monday announced the first two recipients of its inaugural Community Action Award: Seattle kidney specialist Bessie Young, M.D., M.P.H., and Safeway Inc.

The award was established to honor individuals and community organizations who go above and beyond the scope of their normal duties to improve health-care access and education, and to reduce health-care disparities.

Bessie Young, M.D., Northwest Kidney Centers nephrologist (kidney specialist) and researcher at Veteran's Administration Hospital in Seattle, was honored for making a difference in health issues affecting ethnic-minority populations.

"She knows first-hand how kidney disease disproportionately affects the African-American community," said Peggy Porter, M.D., the Fred Hutchinson researcher who presented the award. "She addresses this challenge head-on, organizing screening events at African-American churches and health fairs to bring awareness of kidney problems directly to the population at risk." Young's record of community service also includes organizing the annual African-American Kidney Health Conference at Seattle's Mount Zion Baptist Church, and serving as a member of the Washington State Department of Health Kidney Screening Task Force.

"Without a doubt, in this community, Dr. Young is the most active nephrologist working to raise public awareness to stop the epidemic of chronic kidney disease," wrote Joyce F. Jackson, president and CEO of the Northwest Kidney Centers in a letter of nomination. Kidney failure affects African-Americans at a rate four times that of whites.

The second Community Action Award went to Safeway Inc. for its support of community needs such as hunger relief, education, special needs, and health and human services. On hand to accept the award was Cherie Myers, director of Public Affairs for Safeway's Seattle office.

For example, each month Safeway employees select a charity to receive money collected in canisters placed at checkout stands throughout their stores. Recipients of Safeway's Charities of Choice program, which has raised close to $11 million in the past decade, have included the American Lung Association, the Alzheimer's Association, LifeCenter Northwest, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, UW Medicine and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

On Saturday, Dec. 4., the Safeway Foundation donated another $200,000 to support breast-cancer research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center during the 29th annual Hutch Holiday Gala.

"For all Safeway Inc. does to help our community, and especially for their work in helping Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center advance knowledge and save lives, I'd like to extend a big thank-you on behalf of the center," said Porter, director of Fred Hutchinson's Breast Cancer Research Program.

Porter presented the two awards at Fred Hutchinson during a breakfast seminar on improving health-care access and reducing health-care disparities. The event featured a keynote speech by Marilyn Gaston, M.D., former assistant U.S. Surgeon General. More than 100 community leaders attended the event, sponsored by Fred Hutchinson and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in partnership with the Urban Enterprise Center, an affiliate of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce.

For more information about upcoming Community Partner Breakfast Series events, please contact Winona Hauge, Fred Hutchinson's Community Outreach manager, at (206) 667-1246.

Media Note
A color photo of award recipient Bessie Young, M.D., M.P.H., is available upon request.

Media Contact
Kristen Woodward
(206) 667-5095

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home of three Nobel laureates, is an independent, nonprofit research institution dedicated to the development and advancement of biomedical technology to eliminate cancer and other potentially fatal diseases. Recognized internationally for its pioneering work in bone-marrow transplantation, the center's four scientific divisions collaborate to form a unique environment for conducting basic and applied science. Fred Hutchinson, in collaboration with its clinical and research partners, UW Medicine and Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in the Pacific Northwest and is one of 40 nationwide. For more information, visit the center's website at