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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Announces Recipients of Its Second-Annual Community Action Award

SEATTLE — October 31, 2005 — Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center on Friday announced the recipients of its second-annual Community Action Award. Honorees were the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation for its sponsorship of the Women of Color Empowered luncheon series; John Choe, M.D., M.P.H., a general internist physician at Harborview Medical Center and at the Hutchinson Center; Carmen Mitchell, a local colon-cancer survivor and community advocate for early detection and screening; and Giselle Zapata-Garcia, program manager for the Washington Health Foundation's Community Health Access Program.

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.

Rebecca Ip, editor of the Seattle Chinese Post, accepted the award on behalf of the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation, which sponsored the 2005 Women of Color Empowered luncheon series. This year's luncheon series was devoted to reducing health-care disparities and promoting disease prevention and early detection.

Choe, an acting instructor at the University of Washington School of Medicine and an affiliate investigator in the Hutchinson Center's Public Health Sciences Division, is interested in developing and implementing community-based approaches to reducing cancer disparities among immigrant populations. His research focuses on detection and prevention of liver, colorectal and cervical cancers in Asian-immigrant communities. He is an investigator of the Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training, a National Cancer Institute Community Networks Program locally led by Vicky Taylor, M.D., M.P.H., also of the Hutchinson Center.

Mitchell, of Seattle, was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer in 2002. She continues to receive treatment at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, where she provides support and inspiration for others who are going through chemotherapy. She is involved in a number of patient-advocacy groups, including the Colorectal Cancer Coalition, Cancer Lifeline and the Colon Cancer Task Force of the Washington Cancer Control Partnership. Prior to her diagnosis she was employed at Puget Sound Energy for 20 years and also worked as a part-time realtor.

Zapata-Garcia has more than a decade of experience in breaking down the barriers to accessing health care for Washington-state residents. She is the founder and leader of the Washington Health Foundation's annual Latina Health Fair, which provides health-care access to medically underserved members of the Hispanic community. This year's fair was held at Qwest Field and attracted more than 250 families.

The awards were presented Friday at the Hutchinson Center at the second annual Community Leadership Breakfast featuring guest speaker Harold P. Freeman, M.D., president and founder of the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention in New York and a leading authority on the interrelationships between race, poverty and cancer. Nearly 100 community leaders attended the event, which was sponsored by the Hutchinson Center's Community Advisory Council. Robert Jefferson, program director and assistant manager of KBCS Community Radio in Bellevue, emceed the event.

For more information about upcoming Community Leadership Breakfast series events, please contact Winona Hollins Hauge, the Hutchinson Center's Community Outreach manager, at (206) 667-1246 or at

Note for Media
Color photos of the award recipients are available upon request.

Media Contacts
Kristen Woodward
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
(206) 667-5095

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, our interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists and humanitarians work together to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Our researchers, including three Nobel laureates, bring a relentless pursuit and passion for health, knowledge and hope to their work and to the world. For more information, please visit