Modzelewski: 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award for Practice


A two-time breast cancer survivor, Ruth Modzelewski RUTH MODZELEWSKI has served as mission coordinator for Susan G. Komen Pittsburgh since 2009, when she went from researching cancer at the University of Pittsburgh to practicing and promoting cancer prevention and treatment throughout Western Pennsylvania. In her role, she is responsible for grants, education, and advocacy programs and oversees the Komen Pittsburgh community-based health grants program, which annually gives close to $1 million back to the community. She regularly travels throughout the 34-county region that makes up the Komen Pittsburgh service area to coordinate education programs and give presentations, in addition to volunteering as a consumer advocate on clinical research grant applications for innovative approaches to cancer detection and treatment.

Modzelewski advocates for the breast health needs of the women in her service area, across the state, and in Washington, D.C. She participates in the Pennsylvania Cancer Control, Prevention, and Research Advisory Board (CAB) meetings in Harrisburg and cochairs the Breast Cancer Workgroup for the CAB Stakeholder Leadership Team, which contributes to the development and implementation of the five-year Pennsylvania Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan. Her partnership with Pitt Public Health on a Komen Pittsburgh community profile led to a grant in 2012 that enabled the formation of the Allegheny County Breast Collaborative (ACBC), which is made up of about 35 breast health stakeholders who seek to identify and reduce breast health disparities in the region through collaboration. To date, members have completed a comprehensive resource assessment and concept mapping research project—exploring perceived local barriers and facilitators of breast cancer screening—and are working on action-oriented next steps. Modzelewski previously spent two decades as research assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and School of Medicine.

Modzelewski earned her PhD in human genetics in 1996 from Pitt Public Health.


Search for an Article