If you have experienced gynecologic cancer and identify as Black, we’d love to talk with you!


Black Voices on Gynecologic Cancer: Understanding Experiences

Study Description:

The purpose of BVOGUE is to describe the lived experiences of Black patients with gynecologic cancer. We value the voices of Black gynecologic cancer patients and would like to learn directly from them through the use of focus groups. They are the only ones who are experts on their own experiences with cancer and can talk about factors that might have influenced their care. We want to use what we learn in this study to further our research and work to implement potential solutions to the biggest problems that are identified. This will be done in order to improve the experience and overall health outcomes for Black patients in the future.

Study Details:

  • Focus Group Study participants will receive $25 gift cards to cover any costs for participating in a focus group with us.
  • Focus groups will last 90 minutes with up to 8 other survivors.
  • Focus groups have been approved by Cornell University’s Institutional Research Board, which ensures studies are conducted ethically.
  • We feel that it is important to share data from the focus groups, so after the study is completed, participants will receive follow-up information about what has been learned, along with resources to support them in survivorship. 
  • To learn more about this study please see the Informed Consent.

Eligibility Criteria: 

  • To join a focus group, you must: 
    1. Identify as Black
    2. Be 18 years of age or older
    3. Have the ability to understand and converse in English
    4. Have access to the internet with a computer, smart phone, or tablet with a camera to participate in a Zoom focus group
    5. Have been diagnosed at any time with gynecologic cancer (ovarian/fallopian tube/primary peritoneal, uterine/endometrial, cervical, vaginal or vulvar cancer)

What happens after I sign up?

You’ll hear from us soon via email and/or phone about scheduling you for a particular date and time for your Focus Group.

Who do I contact if I have any questions?

For more information, we are available via phone (917) 740-6133 or email BVOGUEstudy@gmail.com.


We are a passionate team of gynecologic cancer patients, caregivers, physicians, public health experts, community partners, researchers, and students working together towards antiracist research and action. This study is funded by the Cornell Center for Health Equity under the project title “Centering the Marginalized Voices of Black Patients with Gynecological Cancer as a First Step in Healthcare Curriculum Development,” supported by MOQC (the Michigan Oncology Quality Consortium). Our community partners are SHARE Cancer Support in NYC and Gilda’s Club of Metro Detroit.

Meet the Project Coordinators

Onyinye Balogun, MD
BVOGUE Principal Investigator
Brooklyn, NY

Onyinye is a Clinical Scientist and Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at the Weill Cornell Medicine. She specializes in the treatment of breast and gynecologic malignancies. When she was 12 years old, she saw her aunt’s experience with breast cancer, which drove her interest in tackling cancer.

Onyinye is passionate about health equity, and wants to be involved in projects which positively impact the experience of Black gynecologic cancer patients.

Amelia Safi, PhD, MS
BVOGUE Principal Investigator
Ithaca, NY

Amelia is an Associate Professor of Behavioral Science and Public Health Practice in the Department of Public and Ecosystem Health at Cornell University. She studies how a range of factors influence health and health disparities, including patient interactions with health care providers.

Amelia loves working on interdisciplinary teams and with project partners who have expertise from their lived experience.

Nefa-Tari Moore
BVOGUE Focus Group Leader
Jersey City, NJ

Nefa-Tari is a 3 time cancer survivor, twice uterine cancer and then ovarian cancer. She is a Patient Advocate for women facing cancer with a special focus on Black and younger women diagnosed with gynecologic cancers who often encounter disparities. As the Outreach and Uterine Cancer Coordinator at SHARE, Nefa-Tari helps to support and empower underserved communities by offering informational presentations about how to recognize the sign and symptoms and risk factors of gynecologic cancers, sharing her story and facilitating several support groups.

Nefa-Tari has a deep passion for being the voice of those who feel like they are not being heard and she continues to help raise awareness of racial disparities in healthcare and overall.

Amanda Crowell Itliong, BA, MEd
BVOGUE Project Coordinator
Rochester Hills, MI

Amanda is living with ovarian cancer for the 4th time in 13 years. She is a speaker for Survivors Teaching Students on Ovarian Cancer, Co-Chair of American College of Radiology’s Quality Experience Committee, and a member of the Patient and Caregiver Oncology Quality Council in Michigan. As an activist she supports access to quality healthcare for everyone and is passionate about removing racism from cancer care.

Before becoming disabled, Amanda directed leadership and service efforts for university students and served as a nonprofit consultant. She brings her experience teaching public service leadership, community engagement, and social justice to healthcare through BVOGUE.

Meet the Research Team

Vanessa Aron, BA, RYT
Project Manager, MOQC
Ann Arbor, MI

Vanessa is a project manager with the Michigan Oncology Quality Consortium. Although she got involved in healthcare on (happy) accident, she became passionate about quality improvement and enhancing patient care in the realm of gynecologic oncology.

Vanessa believes that the world has a lot of room to be better and more equitable. Providing and advocating for equal access to safety, security, trust, and happiness is the concept that drives Vanessa’s passion.

Gleneara E. Bates, LMSW
Psycho-Oncology Research Fellow, MSKCC
New York NY

Gleneara E. Bates, LMSW, is currently a doctoral student at CUNY Graduate Center, an adjunct lecturer at Columbia University School of Social Work and Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, a Mental Health Counselor at CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, and a psycho-oncology research fellow at MSKCC.

Her doctoral research explores the environmental risk factors for lung cancer mortality among racially ethnic minorities living in New York. Her current research projects aim to elucidate the bio-physiological aspects of tumor resistance in response to chemotherapy and the use of telemedicine to improve quality-of-life and cognitive function in post-treatment cancer survivors.

As a cancer researcher, she managed a translational research laboratory at Columbia University Medical Center where she conceptualized and conducted research on heat shock proteins and their role in tumor resistance in response to chemotherapy and the role of platinum agents in inducing checkpoint inhibitors related to tumor progression on the quality of life of patients and their primary caregivers during and post-treatment. In addition, she serves on the American Society of Clinical Oncology Cancer Survivorship Committee and The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer Smoking Cessation Committee.

Shelby Beckman, MA, LLPC, DP-C
Project Manager, Gilda’s Club Metro Detroit
Detroit, MI

Shelby is a Clinical Mental Health Counselor working with Gilda’s Club Metro Detroit to provide social and emotional support to anyone impacted by cancer. Shelby’s specializations include mental health, non-violent crisis intervention, substance use, grief and loss, and cancer support. She is passionate about advocating for increased accessibility and affordability to physical and emotional healthcare for all.

Ari Davidson
Pharmacy Student, University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI

As a third-year student at the University of Michigan College of Pharmacy, Ari is involved with student organizations focusing on healthcare system and the role pharmacists play in delivering care. Ari’s interests include ambulatory care, psychiatry, and substance use disorder.

Ari has been drawn to healthcare due to its impact on people’s daily lives. As a future healthcare provider, she wants to be able to help her prospective patients navigate both positive and negative effects of various medications.

Ritisha Ghosh
MPH Student, Cornell University
Ithaca, NY

Ritisha is a first-year MPH student in the Food Systems and Health Concentration at Cornell. After graduating from the University of Michigan in the thick of the pandemic in 2020, she worked on the frontlines as a pediatric medical assistant. During her work, she was shocked at the complexities between health disparities and underpreparedness, which had parallel themes to her passions in climate change and medicine. Her interests through her MPH journey focus on bridging the gap between healthcare and climate change preparedness, such as through her new work focused on air quality advocacy for Chinese immigrants and Chinese-Americans in Chinatown, NYC.

Ritisha is also part of Cornell Graduate Women in Science’s executive board as Science Communications Chair, where she is able to share her love for science and empowerment for gender minorities in STEM through immersive events and community building. She is eager to find more novel intricacies between climate change, science and health, especially through women’s health and emergency medicine.

Kayla and Kristina Goosby
Entrepreneurs & Content Creators

Since 2017, Goosbytwins have provided user-friendly categorizable layouts into our Goosbytwins planners for all your needs. No lifestyle is too busy for the Goosbytwins planner. Work, sports, or family schedules can be manageable with Goosbytwins planners. Our Goosbytwins planner ensures an exquisite, productive, and personalized experience. We understand the rewarding benefits of implementing thoughtful and strategic planning daily. A cherished love passed down from generations of women from the Goosbytwins family.

Shea Howe
MPH Student, George Washington University
Arlington, VA

Shea is currently an MPH in Health Policy candidate at George Washington University, and a Program Associate at the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

She became involved in healthcare while completing her undergraduate degree in public health. The interest was further nurtured during the internships at the Michigan Oncology Quality Consortium. Equity in cancer care has been a passion and a focus in Shea’s studies and career.

Sharon Kim, MPA
Ann Arbor, MI

Hannah Lee
Cornell University Student
Ithaca, NY

As a pre-med student, Hannah got into healthcare because of her interest in helping people, and specifically creating an inclusive space for all patients.

Hannah started a nonprofit organization called Mission Red where they aim to eliminate period stigma and period poverty in her local community. She is also involved in various clubs on the Cornell University campus, including EARS (a peer counseling program), Planned Parenthood, Ithaca Health Initiative, and KDSAP (a program offering free kidney screenings).

Jennifer Gil, MD
Cornell MPH Student
Ithaca, NY

Jennifer was born in Syracuse, New York and raised in Colombia, South America, where she pursued a Medical Degree. She was chosen by the Colombian government as a general practitioner to provide medical social services in an impoverished Colombian village. During that experience, she developed her passion for helping communities in need, specifically women.

Jennifer is involved in a foundation that aims to ensure availability of vaccines for children around the world, and in student organizations that focus on women’s health, particularly in underprivileged communities.

Radhika Gogoi, MD, PhD
Gynecologic Oncologist, Karmanos
Detroit, MI

Dr. Gogoi is an active clinician and cancer researcher, and is board certified in Gynecologic Oncology and Obstetrics and Gynecology. Her health services and epidemiology research are focused on evaluating new opportunities to implement HPV vaccine education in underserved populations.

Prior to joining the Karmanos Cancer Center in Detroit, Michigan, Dr. Gogoi was a Womens’ Health Research Scholar at the University of Colorado where she received her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Molecular Biology and was practicing as a gynecologic oncologist at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Penn., for the last 10 years.

Megan Mullins, BA, MPH
Research Fellow, University of Michigan
Dallas, TX

Megan is a cancer care delivery researcher at the University of Michigan and a fellow with NRG Oncology’s Cancer Care Delivery Research Committee. She is passionate about improving the quality and equity of cancer care.

Megan has always been interested in cancer research. Informed by an internship during her undergraduate studies, she discovered the critical importance of data in healthcare which fueled her professional pursuits.

Kimberly Richardson
Founder, Black Cancer Collaborative
Chicago, Illinois

Kimberly is a survivor of ovarian cancer and early stage, triple positive breast cancer. She has served as a Pre Reviewer for the Department of Defense, Ovarian Cancer Research Program, a standing member of the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance’s Health Disparities Committee and has established a special commission on Gynecologic Cancer in the state of Illinois.  Kimberly founded the Survivors Advising Scientists Educational Program, which creates educational modules on ovarian cancer research and the Black Cancer Collaborative, a nonprofit organization that creates partnerships between Black cancer patients and the medical and scientific communities on issues of health equity, patient inclusion and clinical trials participation.

Mariem Ruiz Martinez, MBA
Senior Project Manager, MOQC
Kansas City, Missouri

Mariem earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI and then obtained her MBA with an emphasis in Project Management at Saint Leo University in Florida.

Throughout her career, Mariem has gained a strong background in Leadership Development. Most recently she served as a Finance Manager and before that a Supply Chain Manager for AdventHealth Kansas City where she also served as a representative for the organization in the Kansas City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She is passionate about healthcare and the positive impact her work can have in improving people’s life.

Nyarie Sirewu
Cornell MPH Student
Ithaca, NY

Nyarie is currently working with the Cornell Center of Health Equity to develop a racial allyship training. She got into healthcare because she didn’t like how politicized healthcare was in Zimbabwe, where her parents and two sisters live. She really believes that the delivery of people’s basic health rights should not be determined by who is in office.

Nyarie started a food drive during the COVID-19 pandemic using her Instagram and Facebook) to buy a months’ worth of groceries for a child and grandparent-headed families in Zimbabwe. She raised $4,058 and delivered 315 food hampers.

Tiffany Younger
Liberation Health Fellow and Scientist, Insight Center
New York City, NY

Tiffany is a Scientist-Activist, Professor, and PHD candidate. Her work focuses on understanding how whiteness and patriarchy as a construct materially impact Black women’s health and wellbeing. As a Liberation Health Fellow and Scientist at the Insight Center, she is working with the team to fill research gaps that center Black women. In addition, she is building out her project Liberation for Us, an interactive think tank where Black women, experts, thought partners and allies work together to close the health equity gap by transforming policies, practices and systems that center Black women.

Prior to working with Insight Center Tiffany, served as the Director of Policy and Advocacy at Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap (CWWG), a national organization that prioritized economic security through policy solutions that center women of color. In addition, Tiffany worked as a Policy Fellow for United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand where she focused on issues of criminal justice, gender, and race equity. She also served as a T32 Clinical Research Science Fellow at the National Institute of Health (NIH) where her research interests focused on heart disease and health disparities among Black women.

Tiffany obtained her Master of Science degree in Social Policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice. She is a Lecturer at Columbia University School of Social Work and New York University where she teaches Social Welfare Policy and Decolonizing Social Work. Currently, she is obtaining a dual doctoral degree in Clinical Epidemiology at Weill Cornell Medical College and Social Welfare at the Silberman School of Social Work. She resides in Harlem, New York with her daughter Grace.

Our Community Partners

Contact Information

For more information, we are available via phone (917) 740-6133 or email BVOGUEstudy@gmail.com.

This study has been approved by the IRB at Cornell University: https://centerforhealthequity.cornell.edu/