Brem Foundation to Defeat Breast Cancer
DC Metro Area
Why is a 40 under 40 winner
- Andrea has served as CEO for five years and over her tenure has doubled Brem’s operating budget, created an extraordinary, scalable direct service program, added five esteemed Board members, hired three highly qualified staff, and is positioned to exponentially expand Brem’s reach
- In February 2021, she was the keynote speaker for the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition’s Symposium, where she spoke about inequities in breast care
- Andrea is a published author and has been featured recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Aunt Minnie, and OliveAI
Q & A
1. How did you get into healthcare philanthropy?
My parents are both physician-scientists who have devoted their lives to saving others. Many of my earliest memories are of them sharing their passion for medicine and for healing the sick. I went to the OR with my dad and looked at films in dark rooms with my mom. To them, patients were always human beings—with loves and lives beyond their ailments. As I grew up I realized that the apparatus supporting the lifesaving work of my parents was crucial to ensuring better outcomes for all—regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds. I am a lawyer by training. I saw healthcare philanthropy as a way to bridge my deep commitment to healthcare with my love of using words and out-of-the-box thinking to convince others to join a worthy cause. I owe my dedication to this field to my parents as well as to the philanthropists and supporters who have given providers the chance to offer excellent care to all patients. I hope to help pave a path to a world where more people, regardless of their backgrounds, benefit from the explosion of innovation in healthcare.
2. Tell us about a pivot point or crucial step in your career journey.
My grandmother was 33 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time, my mother was 12. This formative experience inspired my mom to go to medical school and become a radiologist specializing in breast care. She diagnosed her own breast cancer at age 37—when I was 12. Luckily, she is still saving others' lives from this disease. I found out that I was BRCA positive when I was 22. I had prophylactic mastectomies at age 30. I had been practicing law but wanted to give back because I was the first in three generations to thwart breast cancer in my 30's. I joined the board of Brem and quickly became its first employee. I knew that we, as a family, could use our story to encourage other women to find early, more curable breast cancers. I am now the mother of four young daughters, so this role is one that bridges my family's history with my family's future. I hope that the pivotal moment after my mastectomies leads to a world where my daughters, and all the other young girls out there, live in a world where breast cancer is less threatening.
3. What piece of advice would you give aspiring 40 Under 40 recipients?
Find what you love and pursue it. If you do, you will easily convince others to support your work. Understand that your work gives others a way to make a meaningful and lasting impact on the world and on issues that matter to them. Do your work with grace and pride; those qualities attract others to your cause. Lastly, realize that we cannot do this work alone. We work with providers, philanthropists, NGOs, staff, and with each other to save people from diseases and give access to healthcare to those who may otherwise not have it.