Biography of Barbara Brenner

Barbara Brenner

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Barbara A. Brenner was 41 years old when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993. She quickly learned how little was known about breast cancer, and how much misinformation was being given to the general public about the disease. She joined the board of San Francisco-based Breast Cancer Action (BCA) in September 1994, one year after her diagnosis, and became the organization’s executive director a year later. In 1996, Barbara had a local recurrence of breast cancer, which resulted in a mastectomy.

Barbara is a tireless activist who believes that everyone can—and is needed to—make a difference in ending the breast cancer epidemic. Her passion is contagious, and her effectiveness as a leader of the breast cancer movement is demonstrated in the growth and achievements of Breast Cancer Action since she took the helm as Executive Director in 1995.

Barbara is highly sought after by the national media, and has appeared in the New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post, ABC News, and CBS Evening News. She is co-author of the chapter, “Cancers,” in Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause (The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, 2006). She is also the author of the chapter, “Sister Support: Women Create a Breast Cancer Movement,” in Breast Cancer: Society Shapes an Epidemic (Palgrave, 2000).

She is also active on the lecture circuit, giving talks around the country on the politics of breast cancer.

Barbara is profiled in the Summer 2007 issue of Smith Quarterly, a publication of the Northampton, Massachusetts college where she earned a bachelor’s degree in government. She also has a law degree from the Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.

Before joining BCA, Barbara was a partner in the San Francisco law firm of Remcho, Johansen & Purcell, whose work focuses on public policy and political litigation.