Dr. Funmi Apantaku-Onayemi inspires women to overcome the fear of breast cancer based on her three decades of leadership in the field as a researcher and community networks’ operative. She demystifies the beliefs and misconceptions that have fueled paralyzing fear about the disease – paralyzing fear that has caused alarming rates of avoidable deaths. She shares encouraging news with staggering statistics of breast cancer survivorship. Women will release the fear as they are enlightened and assured that hope has come.
About the Speaker Dr. Funmi Apantaku-Onayemi’s focus on cancer populations’ studies and community engagement has spanned three decades. As the Midwest Regional Director of the National Cancer Institute’s National Black Leadership Initiative on Cancer, she authored several innovative cancer control programs. Three of such programs are:- (1) Stay Beautiful Stay Alive Breast Cancer Education in Beauty Salons. It became a national best practice and was featured in a PBS documentary. (2) Driving to Better Health – A Study of Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease in Taxi Drivers of Chicago, was the first study of its type in the United States with other studies only in Europe and Asia at the time of its publication. (3) Embracing Life Cancer Support and Advocacy Group catalyzed cancer support and advocacy for Black women in the Chicago area. Her initiated programs were implemented in cancer control institutions by the 15 coalitions she established in 12 states.
Her presentations on breast cancer have been on local, regional and national stages with a notable presentation at a Congressional Hearing on Capitol Hill. Under her leadership as Project Director of the UIC Center of Excellence in Eliminating Health Disparities and Principal Investigator of the UIC-Komen Beating Breast Cancer Program, an unprecedented number of Black women (12,000) were recruited in a breast cancer cultural-beliefs study in four communities of Chicago within 3.5 years. She was Chair of the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s Action Plan for African American Cancer Survivorship. It produced a nationally distributed Cancer Survivorship Work Plan. She served on the Advisory Committee of Illinois Cancer Control Plan and as a reviewer for Illinois’ cancer research funding mechanism.
She retains an adjunct assignment at UIC where she received the Silver Circle Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2018. She educates lay audiences on breast cancer as a personal dedication to the cause.