Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Papanicolaou Corps Makes Record Donation to UM/Sylvester


The more than 17,000-member Papanicolaou Corps for Cancer Research today announced a record-breaking gift of $3.325 million to fund cancer research at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. The gift brings the total raised by the Pap Corps over the past four years to nearly $11 million, which exceeds their initial five-year pledge made in 2003 of $10 million.

“We are so pleased to be able to present this gift to UM/Sylvester,” said Gloria Berkowitz, president of the Pap Corps, a volunteer group with members across three counties that has supported cancer research at the University of Miami for 54 years.

Berkowitz stepped down as president at the annual donor luncheon June 1 at the Boca Raton Resort and Club. During her four-year presidency, the Pap Corps grew from 11,000 members to more than 17,000 in 47 units, and fulfilled their five-year pledge in four years. “The Pap Corps is a wonderful organization with some extraordinary people who are always willing to help and unselfishly give of their time and talents. I am so proud to have served as its president.”

The incoming president is Barbara Pessel, who previously had served on the Pap Corps Executive Board as vice president and liaison to UM/Sylvester. “I look forward to working with our ever-growing Pap Corps membership and finding new and successful ways to raise funds for cancer research,” she said. Pessel also announced an increased pledge, from $10 million to $14 million over six years.

The leadership of the Pap Corps presented a check to UM/Sylvester Director W. Jarrard Goodwin, M.D., F.A.C.S., and Board of Governors Chair Joaquin F. Blaya during the luncheon also attended by Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., F.A.C.C., senior vice president for Medical Affairs and Dean of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine.

“Words seem inadequate when speaking of the impact the Pap Corps has had and continues to have on UM/Sylvester,” Goodwin said. “Because of the Pap Corp’s ever-increasing support, our researchers are able to expand their work – improving the lives of our patients and making important advances every day. Such progress would not be possible without the dedicated and motivated members of the Pap Corps. We are very fortunate and grateful to have them as partners in our fight against cancer.”

“The Pap Corps never ceases to amaze me,” added Blaya. “A gift of this size from a totally volunteer organization is truly remarkable. We and the entire South Florida community are so fortunate and grateful for their continual support of cancer research.”

The ongoing commitment of the Pap Corps funds critical research at UM/Sylvester, including work in bio-behavioral oncology and cancer control, tumor immunology, molecular oncology and experimental therapeutics, and viral oncology. The Pap Corps also has helped fund investigations of prostate, bladder, and kidney cancers, and new diagnostic tools for a variety of cancers at South Florida’s only university-based cancer center.

The members of the Pap Corps are especially proud of the growth in their membership and philanthropy in today’s economic climate. According to Berkowitz, “Communication and education about our mission have increased participation and enabled us to meet and go beyond our goals. We are passionate in our belief that the cure for cancer will come from the research being done at UM/Sylvester and other research facilities throughout the United States and around the globe.”

For more information about the Papanicolaou Corps for Cancer Research please call (954) 425-8100 or visit

UM/Sylvester opened in 1992 to provide comprehensive cancer services and today serves as the hub for cancer-related research, diagnosis, and treatment at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. UM/Sylvester handles 1,400 inpatient admissions annually, performs 3,000 surgical procedures, and treats 3,000 new cancer patients. All UM/Sylvester physicians are on the faculty of the Miller School of Medicine, South Florida’s only academic medical center. In addition, UM/Sylvester physicians and scientists are engaged in 200 clinical trials and receive more than $31 million annually in research grants. UM/Sylvester at Deerfield Beach recently opened to better meet the needs of residents of Broward and Palm Beach Counties. This 10,000 square-foot facility at I-95 and S.W. 10th Street offers appointments with physicians from six cancer specialties, complementary therapies from the Courtelis Center, and education and outreach events.

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