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Bench to Community 

Our goal is to combine research data from the laboratory and community to reduce breast cancer risk due to exposure to harmful chemicals in hair and personal care products in Black women.


Black women are more likely to die from breast cancer than White women. Scientific research supports a link between exposure to harmful chemicals, especially those that interfere with hormone activity, in hair and personal care products and breast cancer risk. Black women use more hair and personal care products containing these harmful chemicals than White women. It is urgent that we learn more about how these harmful chemicals affect breast cancer development and progression. It is also important to learn more about how Black women at high risk for breast cancer select and use potentially harmful hair and personal care products. The goal of this study is to combine research data from the laboratory and community to reduce breast cancer risk due to exposure to harmful chemicals in hair and personal care products in Black women.

Our Team



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Dede K. Teteh, Dr.P.H. 

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Dede K. Teteh, Dr.P.H. is a certified public health professional with a wide breadth of experience across academia, research, policy development, and strategic communications. She brings a deep knowledge of the public health sector—spanning both individual and community health—as well as a teaching and research-based background. Through her work in community advocacy and prevention, as well as several roles at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she has cultivated an interest in sustainable public health infrastructure and building healthier communities, particularly in underserved populations. 

With both a Master of Public Health in Health Education & Promotion (Morehouse School of Medicine, 2011), Doctor of Public Health in Health Education (Loma Linda University, 2017), and two adjunct professorship roles, she has first-hand experience in community and population-based research along with exceptional research communication skills. 

Dr. Teteh is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Health Equities, Department of Population Sciences at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer. Her areas of study include endocrine-disrupting chemical exposures and breast cancer risk, cervical cancer prevention with particular focus on Black women; cultural beliefs and practices, religion/spirituality and healthcare utilization. As a social epidemiologist, she uses community-based participatory approaches to address health disparities in the most vulnerable populations.

Dr. Teteh has been a recipient of numerous honors and awards, including selection as a Bill & Melinda Gates scholar, a National Cancer Institute-Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities, Scholar-in-training awardee, and the recipient of the Glen Blix award for excellence in preventive care. She also serves on the board of directors for the American Cancer Society (ACS), and is a legislative ambassador for the ACS’s Cancer Action Network. 

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Lindsey S. Treviño, Ph.D*. 

Lindsey S. Treviño, Ph.D*. is an assistant professor in the Division of Health Equities and Department of Population Sciences. Dr. Treviño graduated magna cum laude from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and received her doctorate in reproductive physiology from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Her dissertation research focused on the role of steroid hormone receptor signaling in the development and/or progression of ovarian cancer in the hen (the only spontaneous animal model of the disease) and was supported by an F31 Predoctoral Fellowship from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Treviño continued her postgraduate training at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, where she investigated the regulation of progesterone receptor activity by cell signaling pathways in breast cancer cells, with support from an F32 Postdoctoral Fellowship from NIGMS. She received additional postdoctoral training at the Institute of Biosciences and Technology of Texas A&M University, where she examined the molecular basis of how developmental exposure to the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A (BPA) reprograms the liver epigenome to alter liver metabolism in adulthood in a rat model. She continued this line of research as an instructor at Baylor College of Medicine before joining City of Hope.
Dr. Treviño has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including selection as a Future Leaders Advancing Research in Endocrinology fellow, a Keystone Symposia fellow, a National Institutes of Health future research leader, and as a recipient of the Young Investigator Award sponsored by the Women in Endocrinology. She previously served on the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion and the Governance Task Force of the Endocrine Society. She currently serves on the Research Affairs Core Committee and was recently appointed to the Board of Directors of the Endocrine Society. 

Dr. Treviño’s research is focused on understanding the molecular basis by which exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals disrupts the epigenetic machinery to promote the development of metabolic diseases with known disparities such as cancer, obesity and diabetes. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying epigenetic reprogramming may provide potential prevention strategies (for outreach and policy changes) and/or therapeutic targets for precision medicine approaches in high-risk populations. 
*Biography adopted from City of Hope website.

Project Mentor

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Rick Kittles, Ph.D* 

Rick Kittles, Ph.D*., is professor and founding director of the Division of Health Equities within the Department of Population Sciences at City of Hope. He is also associate director of health equities in the comprehensive cancer center.

Dr. Kittles is well known for his research of prostate cancer and health disparities among African Americans. His research has focused on understanding the complex issues surrounding race, genetic ancestry and health disparities. He received a Ph.D. in biological sciences from George Washington University in 1998. His first faculty appointment was at Howard University where he helped establish the National Human Genome Center at Howard University.
Over the last 20 years, he has been at the forefront of the development of ancestry-informative genetic markers, and how genetic ancestry can be quantified and utilized in genomic studies on disease risk and outcomes. His work has shown the impact of genetic variation across populations in pharmacogenomics, biomarker discovery and disease gene mapping.
Although a major focus of Dr. Kittles’ work over the past years has been on measuring and utilizing West African admixture in studies of genetic disease among African-Americans, presently he is expanding his research focus to further include Latino and Native American populations to further enhance the robustness of the experimental design of his research studies.
Dr. Kittles has National Institutes of Health-funded projects to study genetic and environmental modifiers of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in order to improve our understanding of the role serum Vitamin D plays in health disparities. He is leading a multisite collaboration studying modifiers of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels and their role on prostate cancer susceptibility.
In 2010, Dr. Kittles was named in Ebony magazine’s “The Ebony Power 100.” Ebony selected the nation's top 100 African American "power players" in sports, academia, religion, business, environment, science and tech, entertainment, arts and letters, fashion, politics, media, activism and health. In March of 2012, Dr. Kittles presented the Keynote Address to the United Nations General Assembly, “International Day of Remembrance of Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.” Recently, he was named by The Huffington Post as one of “50 Iconic Black Trailblazers Who Represent Every State In America.”
Dr. Kittles has published over 160 research articles on prostate cancer genetics, race and genetics, and health disparities.

*Biography adopted from City of Hope website. 

Project Manager

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Jazma L. Tapia 

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Jazma Tapia received her Bachelor of Science (BS) in Microbiology from California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) in 2015. She began her undergraduate research after receiving the Minority Biomedical Research Support Program-Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (MBRS-RISE) Fellowship, as well as the Louis Stokes Alliance Minority Program (LSAMP) Fellowship. Under the mentorship of Dr. Edith Porter. Her undergraduate research studies focused on Assessing lipid-derived innate immune factors in Amniotic Fluid and Vernix Caseosa protecting against intrauterine infections. Her CSULA research was honored with the Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research and CSUPERB Research Scholars Award.


Currently, Jazma is a graduate student in the Ph.D. program at City of Hope, Irell and Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences, where she studies Cancer Metabolism. Jazma is co-mentored by Drs. David Ann in the Department of Diabetes Complications and Metabolism, and Victoria Seewaldt in the Department of Population Sciences. Her thesis includes metabolic studies, where she is investigating the role downstream effectors of Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) play in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Metabolism. Not only is Jazma a Ph.D. Candidate preparing to defend soon, but in the past, she has also served on many graduate committees as well as President of the Graduate Student Organization, and co-Chair of City of Hope's Diversity Research Group (DRG), Connecting People of African Descent (CPAD) for Hope. Her previous role as co-Chair of this DRG, allowed her to focus on her passion for Health Equities and Community Engagement by developing events to bring awareness, intervention, and prevention of diseases that affect the black community

Community Advisory Board (CAB)

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Tonya Fairley 

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Tonya Fairley is a Certified Trichologist, Cosmetologist, and Naturopathic Wellness Coach, a Pasadena, CA native and owner of the TSFairley Hair Restoration Center & Training Academy, Strandz on Grand, Strandz Hair Studio and former Educator for L’Oréal Professional. A graduate of USTI and AMCA and a member of the American Hair Loss Council my focus is identifying hair loss behind the chair, scalp diseases, and product knowledge.

After leaving L’Oréal professional I embarked on a journey to help men and women with their hair loss issues.  My goal is to help them sustain what they have and lead them to restore what they have loss.  

Through both conventional and natural systems, I have been able to give these individuals the confidence needed to move forward in their hair loss journey.  By getting to the root of the issue and starting within the results have been amazing.

My ultimate desire after servicing clients and stylist for 20yrs is to reach as many as possible to teach them how to Identify hair loss.  I want to equip clients, stylist and salons with the basic tools needed to be a 1st responder to hair loss.  Through this collaboration I work with you to slow down this epidemic and restore your confidence. 

As a Certified Trichologist It would be an honor to help you on your journey.

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Kommah McDowell

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Kommah McDowell* is a 14-year survivor of Triple Negative Inflammatory Breast Cancer, wife and mother, despite the statistics. In December of 2004 at the age of 28, I felt changes in my right breast.  After visiting with my doctor in January 2005, I was advised that I had a cyst that was not cancerous.  As the “cyst” continued to grow in size, it also grew to be very painful and I found myself frequently in my doctor’s office questioning the pain, mass, cyst, and discomfort that was becoming more profound.  After four months of prescribed testing and reexamining of my right breast, again, I was reassured that I only had a cyst.  However, I disagreed with my physician’s diagnosis and requested to have it removed as a precautionary measure to give me a peace of mind and reassurance for my family and future husband, as I became engaged on March 30, 2005

On July 13, 2005, the surgeon opened my right breast and found three tumors and my lymph nodes under my right arm overflowing with cancer.  Two days later the cancer was confirmed by the lab and on July 25th I transferred my services to the City of Hope for treatment.  During my consultation with my soon to be Surgeon and Oncologist, I was advised that I didn't just have breast cancer, I had Triple Negative Inflammatory Breast Cancer and my treatment would be very aggressive...This was the beginning of my journey through cancer.   

Sadly, with my diagnosis I was given less than a five percent chance of surviving two years, and if I survived, I would not be able to conceive children.  Fortunately, that was not my fate. Now as a survivor, I am active in the Fight Against Cancer, however my heart goes out to those simply trying to survive the treatment process, let alone the disease.  Therefore, I choose to use my skill set to increase funding for those in treatment, advocacy, awareness, and survivor research.  I am a founding member of City of Hope’s Patient and Family Advisory Council, National spokesperson for City of Hope, Steering Committee Member for OurHope, RIE participant, City of Hope’s Center of Community Alliance for Research & Education Community Partner and Navigator.  I am Certified in Professional Advancement in Philanthropy and Protecting Human Research Participants.  I am a woman of many hats with a heart for those in need. 

With a Bachelor of Arts in English, a Master of Science in Leadership and Management, and over 20 years of public speaking, I am on a mission to make a difference for those fighting for their lives.  I will work alongside of those in the trenches and I look forward to making what seems impossible, POSSIBLE! *Biography adopted from personal website.

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Ernesta Wright, BA

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Ernesta Wright, Bachelor of Arts (BA) is a native of Orange County, California. She is the Executive Director of The G.R.E.E.N. Foundation with 29 years of experience working in the African American community and more than a decade of experience providing breast health education. Ms. Wright has established a track record as an effective collaborator for outreach and programming with large organizations, including completed projects with Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Vines Medical Society, American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen Orange County Affiliate, with five universities; National University, Cal State Dominguez Hills, California State Fullerton (CSUF), University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Loyola Marymount University; Fullerton Community College and other community/grassroots organizations, to facilitate a greater impact among African American constituents throughout the state of California. She has also positioned this grassroots regency as a leader in the fight against cancers. The G.R.E.E.N. Foundation has a reach and positive impact in the fight against cancers that spans from its Orange County base of operations in Southern California, to the Bay Area in Northern California. 

Ms. Wright is an exciting, engaging, and empowering presenter who is passionate to leave her footprints in a changing world to be a voice for the voiceless. Ms. Wright is a mother of two adult children and a grandmother of two granddaughters. Her life commitment is serving those who are unable to speak for themselves.

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Joanne Washington

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I am Joanne Washington, founder of Hairoots Hair Replacement, Licensed Hair Stylists for over 30 years, Hair Restoration/Hair Loss Specialist, Educator, and Coach. I provide treatments and solutions for men and women losing hair. And I have designed a Holistic Hair Loss Training Course for Hairstylists who want to learn effective ways to identify why a client is losing, explain the cause, and chose products and remedies that can potentially regrow hair. I am a Licensed Cosmetologist trained in Trichology at Innovations Today and I.I.T. International Institute of Trichology. I received Certification from The School of Modern Nutrition in Alternative Therapy and Herbal Remedies. I am currently attending Pure Vitality University to get my Practitioner's Certification. In 2005 I was diagnosed with breast cancer, losing most of my hair when prescribed medication after surgery. I discovered that most of the treatments on the market at that time were formulated chiefly for men that addressed one type of hair loss, known as androgenetic alopecia. I knew this single approach would not help to grow my hair back nor work for most women. I began researching alternative treatments and testing various products until I discovered solutions that helped grow my hair back. Now I offer these very same solutions to clients in her salon that are giving them excellent results.

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D. Bing Turner, MPH 

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D. Bing Turner was born and raised in Compton, California and graduated from the prestigious King Drew Medical Magnet High School. While at King- Drew, Bing discovered his love of institution building community health, and education. While in high school, he served as the inaugural student advisor for the Saturday Science Academy at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, which is currently still active today.  He would later graduate from Morehouse College with a degree in Education. Upon graduation, Bing  taught a number of years in South Los Angeles, while also, along with his brother Donavan Turner,  founded the Heritage Education Group (HEG) in 2001.   

Bing is a community grounded public health professional, who courageously seeks opportunities to create systems, models, and programs that can provide access for those who have been disengaged or whom have been misrepresented.  Bing views public health as a dynamic discipline and active concept that can be used to empower communities and to create change for a healthier perspective and healthier local environment.  His public health interest includes food access and security, Community Based Participatory Research, health disparity research, and breast cancer research. 

Bing has held several prestigious professional positions.  Previously, Bing has served as the Assistant Director of Education for Worker Education Resource Center for Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, Country Director for USAID / YCARE Program in Lagos, Nigeria and as a Senior Research Analyst, for Loma Linda University, Behavioral Health Institute and is currently.  In 2015, Bing was selected as a Randal Lewis Healthy Policy Fellow and developed health policy and programs for the City of Claremont, CA. He has earned a Master’s in Public Health from the Claremont Graduate School of Community and Global Health. 

Bing is currently working on food insecurity in Webster Parish, just outside  Shreveport, Louisiana.  He is currently Co-Principal, at Heritage Farmers Markets and the co-founder of the non-profit, Heritage Wellness Collective.  Both mission driven organizations has the primary focus in bridging the gap of food insecurity and healthy food access.  Their flagship store, Bernice Community Market, will open Summer 2021, amongst racial unrest, climate instability, and a global pandemic.  


Maggie Hawkins, MPH, CHES 

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Maggie Hawkins, MPH, CHES Maggie Hawkins is a Lecturer in Public Health at the California State University campuses at Fullerton and Los Angeles. She is the past director of the Randall Lewis Health Policy Fellowship of Partners for Better Health, an eight-month field experience for graduate students working within Healthy Communities initiatives throughout Southern California. Maggie has over 35 years of experience as an advocate, educator, organizer and trainer with various human rights, health and educational organizations including Planned Parenthood Pacific Southwest; the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center at the University of California, Riverside; and the Partnership for Health Program at University of Southern California. She was Executive Director of Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance (RPYA) from 2007-10. Maggie was also a founding staff member of the School of Community & Global Health at Claremont Graduate University (CGU), where she was the Program Manager for the Master of Public Health Program from 2008- 2014. She is currently a doctoral student in Public Health at CGU. Maggie has served on the board of directors for the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ), Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance and TruEvolution. She is currently an Electoral Committee member for Planned Parenthood Orange & San Bernardino Counties. Maggie and her spouse of 25 years, Juliann Anderson, live in Riverside with their dog McAllister and cats Harry, Rufus and Roscoe.

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