May 25, 2019  

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Fannie Lou Hamer Cancer Foundation Board Appoints New Members

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The Fannie Lou Hamer Cancer Foundation’s Board of Directors recently appointed Dr. Mark Dugo and Darryl J. Jefferson as new board members. The appointment is designated for two years, unless both are re-appointed by the foundation’s executive board.

Their selection is reflective of the organization's continuing effort to address and reduce the cancer health disparities in the rural Mississippi Delta, where poverty is overwhelming and people from all walks of life of dying prematurely from the dreadful disease. 

Both Dugo and Jefferson bring a wealth of knowledge in the area of health disparities and the underlying causes of cancer.

Dugo is a native Virginian who has a background tied to three Mississippi IHL institutions. In 2003 Dr. Dugo earned his M.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Southern Mississippi, studying population genetics of the endangered Gulf sturgeon. In 2015, he earned his Ph.D. in Environmental Science from Jackson State University, studying gene expression in native fishes following exposure to the carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, 3-Methylcholanthrene. 

He has been serving as Assistant Professor of Environmental Health in the Department of Natural Sciences and Environmental Health at Mississippi Valley State University since the fall of 2015.

Jefferson is a native of Jackson, Miss. He is a 2007 graduate of Oscar H. Wingfield High School in Jackson. After high school, Jefferson continued his education at Jackson State University receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 2012.

Jefferson is employed with the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) as a Project Administrator in the Myrlie Evers-Williams Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities. In this role, he has helped establish the UMMC EversCare Clinic, which is a social needs assessment clinic committed to improving food, housing, and education insecurities, as well as addressing personal safety, health literacy, and transportation barriers in the underserved patient population of UMMC.

Last year, the Fannie Lou Hamer Cancer Foundation identified and assisted 837 women with a screening appointment for a mammogram and pap test; 360 men with a prostate screening; provided financial assistance for transportation to 23 women and 3 men; and provided cancer education material to more than 10,000 men and women throughout the state of Mississippi, mostly in the Mississippi Delta. 

The Fannie Lou Hamer Cancer Foundation was founded and established under the umbrella of The University of Southern Mississippi. The program was spearheaded by Freddie White-Johnson, who is the Director of the Office of Mississippi Network for Cancer Control & Prevention.

To learn more about the Fannie Lou Hamer Cancer Foundation, please visit our website at