Minority Health


Minority Health



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The Making Cancer History® Voices Oral History Collection, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center


Houston, Texas

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Lovell Jones, PhD

The Biennial, at the end of the fourth Biennial, several individuals approached me and said, “You know, we have this meeting every two years, and we sang all these ‘Kumbaya,’ but we have no way of really formally implementing all the good things that are coming out of it, and so we need to form some sort of organization.” And it was Pam Jackson [phonetic], who worked for me, who was a staff assistant. Actually, even if she worked for me, her title was staff assistant to the president. Because of her pay grade and what she was coming from, that was the only thing that really fit, and her salary was paid by the NCI grant to create the National Black Leadership Initiative on Cancer.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD

Which we also have not talked about. (laughs)

Lovell Jones, PhD

So she said, “Why don’t we call it Intercultural Cancer Council,” and that’s how it got the name.

And then there was another woman, Bobbi de Córdova-Hanks, who said, “Well, we all speak with one voice,” and that’s why the tagline ended up with ICC of “Speaking With One Voice.”

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD

How interesting.

Now, let me back up for sec, because you said one of the main reasons you were approached was that the Biennial was producing a lot of positive effect, but I’d like to get a sense of what those positive products were.

Lovell Jones, PhD

Well, this was the first time that all communities had met together. By the fourth biennial, it was poor whites, people of color, Pacific Islanders, even had some foreigners coming in for the meeting, just to see how we were doing—actually had a couple people from Russia come in—to see how we were doing and how all of these different diverse communities were actually under one roof. It was a sharing of knowledge, a sharing of scientific knowledge.

We had leaders in the field come in to talk about major breakthroughs in cancer, and I told them to put their presentations in short snippets on prevention, treatment, and education, and do it in a way that if they were asked by CNN to give a short snippet, to do it the same way so that people would walk away with not an hour-long presentation, but very short snippets so we could get a lot in. In fact, that has consistently been rated as one of the highest sessions of any of the meetings.

And then we focused on different issues that were the topic of the day. In terms of bringing in leaders, we’ve had people attend, all the way from the vice president down to the little old lady sitting on the stoop, to speak, and so it’s probably one of the most diverse meetings you would ever attend. And I think it allows—I’ll never forget, one woman said, coming back, said how that meeting had not only impacted her, but her family, specifically her son, who was not listening to her and doing certain things. And she made the comment how she had met Harold Freeman and had talked to him about his efforts, and he said, “Oh, Mom.”

And Harold had given her his personal number, and so she got on the phone and called. She says, “Son, I have somebody here who wants to talk to you.” And it so impressed him that she had climbed above where she was and was moving on to doing different things, that it changed his whole outlook on life.

Minority Health