2015

PHASE ONE TIA PALERMO MEMORIAL ENDOWMENT GRANT

Testicular Cancer Awareness Initiative of the Adolescent and

Young Adult Cancer

USC

Grant Amount: $25,000

When longtime board member and former chair Tia Palermo passed away in 2012 following an 11-year battle with cancer, her family joined PHASE ONE in raising funds for a multi-million dollar endowment in her memory.

Funds from “PHASE ONE’s Tia Palermo Memorial Endowment” support three different programs:

  • Tia’s Hope (www.tiashope.org), which provides gifts and support to children at hospitals throughout the country,
  • PHASE ONE grants that it funds within the foundation’s original mission
  • Small size grants that typically do not exceed $50,000.00 to support research, treatment and cancer awareness programs in our community that can be outside of the original PHASE ONE mission.

PHASE ONE’s first endowment grant was made in 2015 to the USC Norris Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) cancer program’s new testicular cancer awareness initiative.  The initiative is a collaborative community project with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

With the funds from the Phase One grant, in the fall of 2015, AYA initiated a pilot program with the LAUSD and UCLA aimed at increasing awareness of testicular cancer and among school-age students.

In the past several decades, cancers occurring in childhood have been the focus of cancer research and treatment programs worldwide.  Unfortunately less attention has been given to adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients (ages 15-39) and cancer remains the number one disease killer within this age group. Because testicular cancer is one of the most common cancers diagnosed in young men, increasing awareness and early detection is a top educational priority of the initiative.

LAUSD is the nation’s second largest school district with an annual enrollment of approximately 651,000 kids in 1,188 schools. The district provides a semester-long comprehensive health education courses to all Grade 7 and 9 students who attend its schools. The courses are taught by credentialed health teachers. While the currently adopted curriculum used by the LAUSD health course contains content related to testicular cancer, the health textbook is ten years old, which is three years past a standard new adoption.

The initiative developed new project based health lessons focused on testicular cancer awareness to complement the current LAUSD health curriculum. Following the completion of the testicular cancer curriculum, professional development, technical assistance, and follow up support to the LAUSD health educators on project and content as they implement and incorporate these materials into their program, is planned. The newly developed curriculum was then piloted in the fall of 2015 in a minimum of three schools with the goal of expanding it to additional schools the following year and ultimately to every school in the LAUSD system.

PHASE ONE is proud to provide the seed grant of $25,000 to fund this new testicular cancer awareness initiative that ultimately will help educate and provide greater awareness to every child in the LAUSD.