Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund Establishes $5.5 Million Research Endowment

The Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund, which has been supporting research grants at Stony Brook for at least 25 years, has established a $5.5 million endowment that will be used in perpetuity to fund breast cancer research at Stony Brook Medicine.

(Photo courtesy of Stony Brook University)

Carol M. Baldwin dedicated her life to helping other women overcome the struggles associated with breast cancer after her own diagnosis in 1990 and enduring a double mastectomy. After raising her six children on Long Island, New York, she formed the Fund in 1996 with her family, friends and health professionals with a mission to fight and ultimately win the battle against breast cancer. Also in 1996, Stony Brook dedicated the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center in recognition of her efforts to raise funds for cancer research. The care center continues to operate today within the Stony Brook Cancer Center.

“Carol was very supportive of local women who were newly diagnosed and would become their advocate to make sure they received the right treatment,” said Brian J. O’Hea, MD, director of the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center. “This newly endowed fund will allow the expert care and research to continue and will ensure Carol’s legacy will always live on here at Stony Brook.”

The Fund has provided seed grants to more than 100 researchers at Stony Brook Medicine as they investigate the causes, prevention and treatment of breast cancer. In memory of Carol, who passed away in 2022, the endowed Fund will ensure that breast cancer research at Stony Brook will continue for years to come. With the State Endowment Match Challenge and the Simons Infinity Investment Challenge, this gift will have an impact of $16.5 million.

1997 Dedication of Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center. (Photo courtesy of Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund)
Dedication of Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center. (Photo courtesy of Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund)

“Through the support of the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund, our researchers will learn more about breast cancer, providing us better methods of detection and treatment,” said William Wertheim, MD, interim executive vice president of Stony Brook Medicine. “This endowed gift will allow that important work to continue in perpetuity as our researchers search for advances in technology and medicine.”

In 2023, two of the grant recipients were Christopher Clarke, PhD, and Alison Stopeck, MD. Clarke’s research focuses on how nitrogen might play a part in the body’s defense against breast cancer cells. Stopeck is researching contrast-enhanced mammography to help predict how well a patient will respond to neoadjuvant chemotherapy, chemotherapy that is administered before surgery.

“We are grateful for the Fund and Carol’s tremendous contribution to raising awareness about breast cancer,” said Yusuf A. Hannun, MD, director of the Stony Brook Cancer Center. “The support this gift provides will continue to have a significant impact on our novel studies.”

1997 Dedication of Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center. (Photo courtesy of Stony Brook University)
Dedication of Carol M. Baldwin Breast Care Center. (Photo courtesy of Stony Brook University)

This past May, the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) awarded the center a full three-year reaccreditation. According to O’Hea, NAPBC-accredited programs have demonstrated excellence in organizing and managing a breast care center to facilitate multidisciplinary, integrated and comprehensive breast cancer services.

Under O’Hea’s leadership, the center’s mission is to provide exceptional and compassionate care. In addition to its dedicated staff, the care center serves as an education focus for Stony Brook medical students and residents and is an active participant in ongoing and new clinical trials. The center also provides resources for community members seeking information and education on the prevention and treatment of breast cancer. 

Carol M. Baldwin was born in Syracuse, New York, and attended Syracuse University, where she met her husband Alexander Rae Baldwin Jr. They moved to Massapequa, New York, in 1954, where they raised their six children Alec Baldwin, Daniel Baldwin, Billy Baldwin, Stephen Baldwin, Elizabeth Keuchler and Jane Sasso.

-Christine McGrath

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