Newswise — SEATTLE – Today, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) and the YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish helped support the educational and career advancement of young women of color through a visit to the SCCA campus.

As part of the YWCA’s GirlsFirst Program, 35 girls heard from a variety of healthcare professionals working in fields ranging from health disparities and interpreter services, to nursing and hospital administration. The participants were also given a tour of the facility where they saw, first-hand, the innovative work SCCA is doing to turn cancer patients into cancer survivors.

“With the increasing demand for healthcare professionals, SCCA understands the critical need to produce the next generation of health leaders,” said Alphonso Emery, director of diversity and human resources at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. “The opportunity to teach young women about the many careers available to them in healthcare helps us meet our community’s needs while also encouraging capable young women to reach their full potential.”

Designed to encourage leadership, instill confidence, develop skills and provide opportunities to girls of color, the GirlsFirst Program enrolls more than 150 girls a year. The summer before their freshman year they attend a three-week Summer Leadership Academy culminating in an overnight retreat at a local university intended to simulate a real college experience and plant the seeds of higher education. Throughout the year, these young women attend weekly after school sessions and monthly leadership action days, and are provided opportunities for summer internships and professional interactions with volunteer mentors.

“Statistics show that the successful completion of freshman year in high school is the most likely to determine if a student will graduate on time,” said GirlsFirst program director Margie Haywood. “98 percent of the girls who participate in our program successfully transition into their sophomore year of high school and an additional 85 percent go on to graduate on time.”

Dr. Elizabeth Trice Loggers, SCCA’s Palliative Care medical director, health services researcher and medical oncologist caring for adults with sarcoma, served as one of the day’s presenters. “As a biracial woman who studied the sciences, I know how important it is to support the young women in the GirlsFirst program,” said Dr. Loggers. “I have the honor of working with patients and families today because of wonderful mentors who encouraged me and got me excited about a career in medicine and research.”

Other speakers included nursing supervisor, Cheri Constantino-Shor, Evelyn Guerra, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance interpreter services coordinator, and Kathy Briant, community health educator at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.


About YWCAThe YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish has a proud history of advancing the quality of life for women of all ages, races and faiths, and their families. Since 1894, the YWCA has provided services to meet critical needs, promote self-sufficiency, reduce violence and achieve equal opportunities for all people. The YWCA touches the lives of 50,000 women and families in King and Snohomish counties each year with these critical services: housing, basic needs, employment training, job placement, domestic violence advocacy, health care services and child and youth development. For more information, visit

About Seattle Cancer Care AllianceSeattle Cancer Care Alliance is a cancer treatment center that unites doctors from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medicine and Seattle Children’s. Our goal, every day, is to turn cancer patients into cancer survivors. Our purpose is to lead the world in the prevention and treatment of cancer. SCCA has five clinical care sites: an outpatient clinic on the Hutchinson Center campus, a pediatric inpatient unit at Seattle Children’s, an adult inpatient unit at UW Medical Center, a medical oncology clinic at Halvorson Cancer Care, and a radiation oncology clinic at UW Medicine / Northwest Hospital. Additionally, proton therapy services are provided at SCCA Proton Therapy, A Procure Center. For more information about SCCA, visit