Brownstein began working with MRA more than four years ago and as a result of our team’s successful legal strategy, this organization and other nonprofits seeking a cure for cancer are increasing in funding for research and awareness campaigns.
Founded in 2007 by Debra and Leon Black, a melanoma survivor and the founder of Apollo Global Management respectively, the mission of MRA is to end suffering and death due to melanoma by accelerating powerful research into cures for all patients and prevent the spread of melanoma. To advance that mission, Brownstein’s Judy Black and Norm Brownstein devised a strategy that included the recommendation that MRA prioritize the request for a Call to Action from the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services. On July 29, 2014, the Surgeon General issued a report and Call to Action addressing skin cancer, including melanoma, as a major public health problem. The Call to Action calls on partners in prevention, such as MRA, to advance research and education on steps to prevent this disease.
Capitalizing on that momentum and Brownstein’s advocacy, the federal omnibus appropriations bill passed for fiscal year 2015 includes government funding of $50 million for the Department of Defense’s Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program. This doubles the level of funding available for melanoma and other cancer research from the previous year.
Melanoma is not only the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S., it is one of the most common types of cancer among U.S. teens and young adults and a recognized danger to servicemen and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan where they may experience higher than average UV exposure. Each year, more than 63,000 new melanoma cases are diagnosed in the U.S. and nearly 9,000 people die from this disease. Most of these cases are preventable; increased awareness of the research can make a difference in the rate of incidence. MRA dedicates 100 percent of every dollar raised to support its melanoma research program. The organization’s ability to fund wide-ranging research in melanoma is amplified by unique multifaceted collaborations and partnerships with individuals, private foundations and corporations, and Brownstein’s pro bono work supports this effort.