Physicians with the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center at Baylor College of Medicine received a $350,000 Avon Foundation for Women grant to continue support for the breast care program at the Harris County Hospital District's Ben Taub General Hospital, the largest dedicated breast clinic for the medically underserved community.

The grant was awarded at last week's Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Houston, the third of the Avon Foundation's walks in Houston.

Physicians from the Smith Breast Center, in collaboration with the Harris County Hospital District, support the comprehensive breast care program at the Ben Taub Breast Oncology Clinic. Funding support also comes from the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Addressing a range of health issues

With approximately 1,000 visits and 200 new patients each year, the clinic sees women with a variety of problems, including breast cancer of all stages.

The goals of the clinic are to provide diagnosis, treatment and management in an expeditious and considerate way, to conduct clinical research that leads to better and safer therapies, and to provide an educational venue for medical students, house staff and fellows.

"This additional funding will help us to offer medical care, genetic counseling and help patients navigate the complex medical system with the assistance of patient navigators," said Dr. Jenny Chang, medical director of the Smith Breast Center.

In addition to BCM, the Avon Foundation for Women awarded more than $1.4 million in grants toThe Sisters Network, The Breast Health Collaborative of Texas, The University of Texas Science Park, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Changing the course

"Our beneficiaries are changing the course of breast cancer – here in Texas, across the country and around the world," said Marc Hurlbert, director of the Avon Foundation for Women Breast Cancer Crusade. "We have supported breast cancer organizations in Texas for many years, but the outpouring of support and generosity through the Avon Walk these past three years has allowed us to make substantial and much-needed new grants that will benefit those facing breast cancer in Texas and nationwide."

Overall, this year's local walk raised $2 million. At next year's walk, projects enabled through these funds will be announced.

With more than 1,000 participants, the walk joins together breast cancer survivors, physicians and supporters to raise money and awareness.

Participants had a choice between walking a marathon (26.2 miles) or a marathon and a half (39.3 miles) and are required to raise $1,800 in donations.

Walkers began at Stude Park and traveled through the Texas Medical Center, Discovery Green Park and downtown before ending back at Stude Park.

For more information on the Avon Walk or to donate, visit or call 800-541-WALK.