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Judi Hirshfield-Bartek
Breast Cancer Activist

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What Else She Said

I was really involved with breast cancer activism before I really thought about that as Jewish social activism. Back in the early 1990s, I worked for a woman who is a breast cancer activist and a well-known breast surgeon - Susan Love - and she was part of developing a national advocacy organization called the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC). The intent of the group was to focus energy around breast cancer as a political issue and that we needed much more money for research in the causes, cures, and prevention of breast cancer. Not just breast cancer, but women's health in general. And I became involved that way, and then that activism and the skills I learned in being involved in the lobbying and rallying individuals and women for the NBCC tied over in Boston, [where] we started a group called the Jewish Women's Coalition on Breast Cancer (JWCBC)...

We started the JWCBC around the issue of genetic testing and Ashkenazi Jews. There were several breast cancer genes identified to be more prevalent in Ashkenazi Jews. And there were several of us who were fearful of how this information could be misused. The Jewish community in Boston was the first group in the country to say, 'We don't want to stop the research, but we want women to be educated first, before they march in a line to participate in the research.' And we also wanted public policy safeguards to protect, not just Jewish women, but all individuals against genetic discrimination...

Becoming involved wasn't anything that I thought about in terms of, oh, this is a Jewish issue and I want to be involved. It just seemed natural to take those skills that I had from the NBCC and carry them over to the Jewish Women's Coalition.

How to Cite This Page
For a bibliography: Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Women's Archive - Women Who Dared - Judi Hirshfield-Bartek on JEWISH VALUES." <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/fullAnswer.jsp>.

For a footnote: Jewish Women's Archive, "Jewish Women's Archive - Women Who Dared - Judi Hirshfield-Bartek on JEWISH VALUES," <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/fullAnswer.jsp>.