December 1, 2004
DIRECTOR APPOINTS CERVICAL CANCER ELIMINATION TASK FORCE
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today appointed a 12-member task force to help educate the public about cervical cancer and develop a statetwide comprehensive prevention and control plan.
“An estimated 750 Illinois women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year and 230 women will die of the disease,” Dr. Whitaker said. “Getting the message out that cervical cancer is a preventable and curable disease is essential and that is why Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed legislation to create the Cervical Cancer Elimination Task Force.”
Cervical cancer, which is almost always caused by human papillomavirus, or HPV, was once the leading cause of cancer death in women. The Pap test, introduced in the 1950s, is credited with reducing the death rate for cervical cancer by 70 percent.
“The only way to continue to reduce mortality from cervical cancer is to motivate women to take charge of their health and schedule regular Pap test screenings,” Dr. Whitaker said. “I look forward to working with task force members to accomplish our mission.”
The new law, signed by Governor Blagojevich in August, was sponsored by state Sen. Debbie DeFrancesco Halvorson (D-Crete) and state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago).
The law stipulates that Cervical Cancer Elimination Task Force members include physicians, health professionals and community-based advocacy groups. Members of the General Assembly and representatives of state agencies serve as ex-officio members. .
The task force’s first meeting is to be held Dec. 6 at videoconference sites in Springfield and Chicago.
Members of the task force are:
Yvonne Collins, M.D., Assistant Professor
Stephani Huston Cox, N.P., Colposcopist
Stacie E. Geller, Ph.D., Associate Professor
L. Stewart Massad, M.D.
Elizabeth S.A. Patton, R.N., Administrator
Maria S. Pesqueira, President and CEO
Carol Wilson Saffold, M.D.
Quincy Scott Jr., D.O.
Tiefu Shen, M.D., Ph.D.
Ray Valek, President
Carol L. Adams, Ph.D., Secretary
State Rep. Patricia Bellock (R-Westmont)
State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz, (D-Chicago)
State Sen. Debbie Halvorson (D-Crete)
Barry S. Maram, Director
Eric E. Whitaker, M.D., M.P.H., Director
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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