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Georgia CORE presents Matt Mumber and Phillip Street awards

2/23/2024, Georgia CORE

Georgia CORE has named Debbie Bickes, MN, RN, OCN, ONN-CG, Coordinator of Oncology Navigation at the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute the recipient of the 2024 Matthew Mumber MD Award for Excellence in Cancer Patient Navigation. The award is presented annually by Georgia CORE and the GASCO and comes with a $2,000 prize. Additionally, BRIDGE Community has been awarded the 2024 Phillip H. Street Cancer Community Service Award. 

Bickes’ colleagues noted her many accomplishments, most notably the development of a new model of oncology navigation in which she reorganized Northside navigators spread out in several offices across the state and placed them into disease site teams. This innovative model of oncology navigation is human-centered and addresses the disparities that cause barriers to care from the beginning of treatment through survivorship, according to Northside oncology administrators.

“But what I really want to praise her for is her determination to bring about a vision of navigation at Northside Hospital that essentially hugs the patient when they need it most,” said Julie Schreiber, Bickes’ nominator and Supervisor of Oncology Patient Navigation. Bickes announced when accepting the award that she is donating the $2,000 prize to a fund that will allow Northside cancer patient navigators to access conferences and other education content.

The cancer patient navigation award is named for Dr. Matt Mumber, a radiation oncologist from Rome, Ga. who is a pioneer in integrative oncology and has worked for decades to raise awareness and advance the work of navigators throughout Georgia.

The Street service award winner, BRIDGE Community, serves as a platform for amplifying the stories of current and former Black breast cancer patients, fostering healing and support within a community framework. By facilitating spaces for participants to share their experiences and challenges, the program aims to aid in their ongoing healing journey and cultivate a supportive network.

The award is named for Phillip Street, a friend and colleague who worked behind the scenes to lay the legal and organizational groundwork for the statewide nonprofit. It celebrates his appreciation for the “unsung hero” in the cancer fight including survivors, caregivers, advocates, and volunteers. It comes with a $5,000 prize.

Bickes and BRIDGE representatives were presented her award at “For the Benefit of All,” a seminar recently held at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta. Georgia CORE's follow up event to the successful Disparities in Cancer Clinical Trials Summit of 2022, the event brought together cancer researchers and others from all over the state who work to increase clinical trial participation among our minority and rural populations. 

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