About Us

Our Mission

“Decoding Cancer” is a ground-breaking collection of standards-aligned interactive classroom resources created by a visionary group of breast cancer advocates, experts, and educators - the Val Skinner Foundation, the LIFE Center at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in collaboration with the Rutgers School of Public Health, and Discovery Education. Decoding Cancer facilitates meaningful discussions among high school teachers, students, and families through comprehensive digital resources. An innovative and interactive high school biology and genetics education program featuring the BioCONECT (Biology of Cancer, Online Education Connecting Teens) curriculum, Decoding Cancer enhances science literacy and increases cancer education and awareness among youth.

The BioCONECT curriculum addresses the need to improve science education and science literacy in the U.S. using cancer as the context for learning. BioCONECT supplements biology and science courses, and was designed to improve science skills and increase awareness of breast cancer among high school students. Students develop problem-solving and decision-making skills with real-life applications, apply their knowledge of biology, expand their understanding of genetics, explore relationships between science and technology, and learn about health-related careers. Using breast cancer as the context, students also learn how cancer develops, how to identify risk factors for cancer and investigate ways to reduce cancer risk.

Who We Are

The Val Skinner Foundation
The Val Skinner Foundation was founded by former LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) champion, Val Skinner, to honor the memory of a friend and fellow professional golfer who passed away from breast cancer at 28 years old. The mission of the Val Skinner Foundation is to support organizations whose primary activities are centered on breast cancer research, treatment and education. A key element of the mission is to arm a younger generation of women and their families with information about cancer risk, early detection, and the importance of healthy practices.

LIFE
The Val Skinner Foundation with its committed supporters created LIFE (LPGA pros In the Fight to Eradicate breast cancer) with the goal to provide resources to build various programs that support a “Young Women Initiative” for breast cancer. The purpose of the initiative is to help eradicate breast cancer as a life threatening disease.

Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
The Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey is the state’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. As part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, the Cancer Institute of New Jersey is dedicated to improving the detection, treatment and care of patients with cancer, and to serving as an education resource for cancer prevention. Physician-scientists at the Cancer Institute engage in translational research, transforming their laboratory discoveries into clinical practice. The Val Skinner Foundation partnered with the Rutgers Cancer Institute and together founded the LIFE Center, a multidisciplinary team of breast cancer experts, including genetic counselors, medical oncologists, surgeons, and nurse practitioners who help young women better understand their personal risk to develop breast cancer and their knowledge of appropriate prevention and screening strategies. One component of the LIFE Center is to serve as a laboratory for the development and evaluation of novel educational tools and strategies for community education of young women and their families such as BioCONECT.

Rutgers School of Public Health
The Rutgers School of Public Health seeks to improve health and prevent disease in diverse populations in New Jersey and around the world through educating students to become well-qualified and effective public health leaders, researchers and practitioners; conducting research to advance public health science and policies; and providing service programs that promote population and individual health. The School educates a wide range of individuals in disciplines that greatly contribute to formal public health activities, in particular disciplines in biostatistics, dental public health, epidemiology, environmental and occupational health, health education and behavioral science, health systems and policy, and urban health administration. The School of Public Health has active research and services program addressing several areas in public health, including cancer prevention and education through programs such as BioCONECT.

Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional development, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 3 million educators and over 30 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, over 40 percent of all primary schools in the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications, the number one nonfiction media company in the world.