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Lanie Kepler
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Event Information

IPHA PHEd Talk: Overview and Lessons Learned from an Online Mindfulness Program for Young Black Women Living with Cancer

Date: October 27, 2022

Time: 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. (Central)

Location: Zoom

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Illinois and the United States. While not as common among younger women, about 9% of all new cases are found in women younger than 45, and young women are often diagnosed at a later stage and face additional challenges due to their age. This session presents the findings from developing and delivering an online mindfulness program to young Black women living with cancer aimed at improving self-compassion, stress, and body image.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe disparities in breast cancer outcomes at the intersection of race and age and the needs of young Black women living with breast cancer.
  • Understand strategies that may improve self-compassion among young Black women living with breast cancer.
  • Discuss the challenges associated with delivering an online mindfulness intervention to young Black women living with breast cancer.


Dr. Tamara Hamlish is a research scientist in the office of Community Engagement and Health Equity at the University of Illinois Cancer Center and a clinical assistant professor in the Division of Academic Internal Medicine at University of Illinois Chicago. She is a medical anthropologist with research focused on cancer survivorship and healthcare system capacity building for survivorship care. She uses innovative methods such as photovoice, participatory design, and participant observation to document how patient experiences diverge from clinical and medical models of cancer and identify opportunities for policy, system, and environmental change. She is PI for the CDC-funded Young and A Survivor Network for Health Equity, a five-year project aimed at enhancing support for women diagnosed with breast cancer before age 45 and PI for the CDC-funded Illinois Comprehensive Cancer Control Partnership (I3CP), part of the National Comprehensive Cancer Control Partnership. Tamara received her M.A. and PhD from the University of Chicago.

Dr. M. Courtney Hughes is an associate professor of public health at Northern Illinois University. Her research focuses on improving quality of life and health care outcomes through health education, innovation, and addressing gaps in care. Dr. Hughes is an editorial board member of BMC Health Services Research and the Faculty Athletics Representative at NIU. She holds a Ph.D. in health services from the University of Washington, an M.S. in kinesiology from the University of Michigan, and a BBA in finance and business economics & computer applications from the University of Notre Dame.

Dr. Bento Soares received a PhD in Genetics and Development from Columbia University in 1986, where he became faculty in 1989. He worked on the Human Genome Project for many years while at Columbia University and subsequently at The University of Iowa.  He then started applying methodologies from the human genome project to the study of pediatric brain cancer and was recruited to Northwestern University and the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago to direct a research program on Cancer Biology and Epigenomics. He joined the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria (UICOMP) in February 2015 as Head of the Department of Cancer Biology and Pharmacology and Senior Associate Dean for Research, driven by the motivation to rebuild the Department of Cancer Biology and Pharmacology, to facilitate development of intellectually synergistic interdisciplinary collaborations across the medical school, and importantly, to bring compassion and emotional balance training to the medical school, to be offered to students, residents, physicians and nurses, while furthering my own research program on pediatric brain tumors. He has since become a Senior CBCT® (Cognitively-Based Compassion Training) Instructor, participated in the training of CBCT® teachers, taught numerous CBCT® courses to trainees and healthcare professionals, as well as to teachers in the Peoria Public School, and the leadership of the Peoria Police Department. He has also become a certified CEB (Cultivating Emotional Balance), MSC (Mindful Self-Compassion) and SCHC (Self-Compassion for Healthcare Communities) Teacher. As part of the University of Illinois Cancer Center Survivorship Program, he offered a tailored online MSC/SCHC training for young African American Women with breast cancer, and a short course on MSC to the Wellness House for Living with Cancer. In early 2020 he started offering an elective discipline that he developed for 3rd and 4th year medical students (CREATE, Compassion, Resilience and Emotional Awareness Training and Education) online to students from all campuses of the University of Illinois College of Medicine, which is also available to students across the country. Lastly, he is the site PI at UICOMP for the Illinois Precision Medicine Consortium of the All of Us Research Program.