Tina’s Wish Lives on at Yale

When Tina L. Brozman was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2005, she wished that an early detection system could be developed so that other women might be spared what she went through.

Brozman, former chief judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York and the mother of three, passed away in 2007 from the cancer. But her friends, colleagues, and supporters are making sure that her wish is fulfilled.

The Honorable Tina Brozman Foundation was created in her memory and recently made a gift to the Yale School of Public Health to establish a permanent research fund to support studies in the early detection of ovarian cancer. Additionally, funds from the foundation will create an advanced training program in ovarian cancer prevention and control that will allow Yale to train a scientist with the specific skills needed to make important contributions to the field of ovarian cancer.

It is estimated that over 21,000 women will be diagnosed with cancer of the ovary in 2008 and approximately 16,000 will die of the disease. Ovarian cancer is difficult to diagnose in early stages because physical symptoms are usually vague, and there is no reliable test to detect the cancer before it spreads.

“Before Tina died, she let her close friends and family know that she wanted her legacy to include helping other women survive the cancer that was killing her. She asked us to start a charitable organization, focusing on the early detection of ovarian cancer, since survival rates are dramatically higher when the cancer is caught early,” said Amy Kyle, her friend and law partner. The organization became aware of the ongoing ovarian cancer research at Yale—including work on a test for early and highly accurate detection—and decided it was the place to invest the foundation’s money.

“We were really excited about the work going on at Yale,” Kyle said. “We became very optimistic about the test being developed. This is something that could be game changing.”