Jennifer M. Bjercke Scholar Award
for Breast Cancer Research

Jennifer Bjercke was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer at the age of 33. The genetic testing she underwent revealed no gene mutation, and there was no history of cancer in her family. Faced with the mystery of her illness, Jennifer set out to understand how otherwise healthy women like herself are diagnosed with this disease. She believed strongly that the end of cancer would not come from a pharmaceutical cure, but through the fundamental understanding of what causes the systemic metabolic functions to go so off course --and what lifestyle choices we can make to prevent breast cancer. With the help of her Tufts Medical Center oncologist, Dr. John K. Erban, MD, she explored how certain factors, such as nutrition, lifestyle and environmental exposures may increase risk, and how reducing those factors could potentially prevent a breast cancer diagnosis.

Jennifer soon discovered that breast cancer research focused on environmental and nutritional health is chronically underfunded. However, according to the National Cancer Institute, much of the progress against cancer in recent decades has stemmed from successes in the areas of prevention and control.

Jennifer was passionate about raising funds to support research at Tufts Medical Center that is dedicated to identifying the risk factors that can change the biology of a healthy cell into breast cancer. Her goal was to not just to support research on the causes of breast cancer, but to help advance efforts that would put an end to the disease, so that no other person would have to suffer from it in the future.

“For me and so many other women with the diagnosis, the only way to move forward in life is to believe that this disease will be behind us one day.” – Jennifer M. Bjercke

Sadly, Jennifer lost her battle with breast cancer in 2018. Though she was unable to see the impact of the generosity and research she set in motion, her family, inspired by her passion, established the Jennifer M. Bjercke Scholar Award Fund for Breast Cancer Research at Tufts Medical Center, under the leadership of Dr. Rachel J. Buchsbaum, MD. The mission is to advance breakthrough science in the prevention of breast cancer, with a focus on the risk factors that may play a role in its development. The fund will provide much-needed resources and an important opportunity for a Tufts Medical Center investigator to launch promising research, in the hopes of bringing us one step closer to ending this disease.

Dr. Buchsbaum is pleased to announce that Dominique Michaud, ScD, Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, has been selected as the inaugural recipient. Learn more about this announcement.

We invite you to join us in honoring Jennifer and the research she championed by making a gift to the Jennifer M. Bjercke Scholar Award Fund for Breast Cancer Research at Tufts Medical Center. The Award will have long-term impact, with the potential for groundbreaking research and transformative discoveries in the prevention of breast cancer.

Thank you for your support.

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