Barbara Brenner Breast Cancer Activist Scholarship

Susie here, using Barbara’s blog to alert you to a new opportunity for activism. Barbara has been gone for six years, but her message lives on. This post announces the establishment of the Barbara Brenner Breast Cancer Activist Scholarship, which is intended to enable an activist to attend the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. I encourage you to share this announcement with your friends who might be interested – even if you think they already received this announcement.


The Barbara Brenner Breast Cancer Activist Scholarship will be awarded to an activist who is committed to carrying on Barbara’s practice of telling truth to power and who wishes to attend the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS), the largest scientific meeting in the world devoted exclusively to breast cancer research, treatment and survivorship. The 2019 SABCS will be held December 10-14 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, Texas.

Every year, tens of thousands of attendees from more than 90 countries around the world gather at SABCS. They are physicians, researchers and other stakeholders, including activists who want to know – and comment on – what research is being done, what directions it is taking and how it actually affects treatment decisions and outcomes for people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

If you are reading this post, you know that one of the leading activists was Barbara Brenner, Executive Director of Breast Cancer Action from 1995 to 2010. Barbara attended the symposium every year, disseminating her analysis of the information through nightly emails to thousands of followers in BCA’s database. She often asked pointed questions from the microphones and challenged faculty, as when, in response to a presenter’s comment, she famously declared, “Patients don’t fail treatment. Treatment fails patients.”


The scholarship is intended to cover the costs of transportation to and from SABCS, conference registration, housing, meals, minor incidental costs while attending the symposium and a small stipend to cover the potential cost of lost income. The amount of the award in 2019 will be $4,000.


  1. Must have been diagnosed with breast cancer
  2. Must be familiar with breast cancer science, and have the ability to write about it for the general public.
  3. Must demonstrate previous breast cancer or health advocacy/activism experience or show why any other experience is relevant.
  4. Must not be employed by or receive funding of any sort from any entity that profits from or contributes to the breast cancer epidemic


  1. Must attend the entire conference, including educational sessions, poster sessions, and nightly mentor sessions.
  2. Must live tweet during the conference to relay breaking news and critiques.
  3. Must write 2 blog posts about the conference that will be published in Barbara’s blog, Healthy Barbs, or another site to be identified by the scholarship committee. These articles may also be published elsewhere, with a reference to Healthy Barbs, at the attendee’s discretion, subsequent to their appearance in Healthy Barbs and subject to approval by the scholarship committee.


Send a personal statement describing your interest, qualifications, and how your attendance at the symposium will further your work in breast cancer activism, along with a CV, by June 30, 2019 to the following email address:

The 2019 recipient will be selected by the Scholarship Committee no later than August 31.

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1 Response to Barbara Brenner Breast Cancer Activist Scholarship

  1. I agree with her comment in a response to a presenter’s comment, she famously declared, “Patients don’t fail treatment. Treatment fails patients.”

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