"They found out very late that my Jamaican grandmother had cancer, and during those days you were sent home to die. How often I wish she were here, and if she had to be diagnosed with cancer that it could be during these exciting times of new cancer treatments and discoveries," she says. "I'm a researcher because I want to learn what I can do to keep more grandchildren with their grandmothers."

McNeill credits her team for much of her own success. She considers her work place one where hard work is an outward manifestation of commitment to eliminating health disparities.

"Some say that community-based research is messy or unscientific. I say that it's neither of those," says McNeill. "Rather, it's the pathway toward truly eliminating health disparities in cancer risk and outcomes."

Regina Rogers, a senior member of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors, established the Rogers Award in 1987 in honor of her parents, the late Julie and Ben Rogers, and in appreciation of the treatment her brother and her mother received at the institution for thyroid cancer and breast cancer, respectively. Ben Rogers served on the Board of Visitors from 1978 until his death in 1994, when his daughter and wife established the Julie & Ben Rogers Breast Diagnostic Clinic in his memory. Julie Rogers died in 1998.

"I'm thrilled to be celebrating the 25th year of presenting this award at an institution that I hold so dear to my heart," says Rogers. "MD Anderson continues to make such amazing strides in the area of prevention, education and research."

Source: The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center