Atlantic City Electric Aids Training of Science Teachers in South Jersey Service Area

Support of Val Skinner Foundation helps deliver breast cancer biology curriculum taught by Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Rutgers School of Public Health
January 13, 2014

BioCONECT programNew Brunswick, N.J. – Creating an even greater impact on the eight southern New Jersey counties it serves, Atlantic City Electric is supporting the Val Skinner Foundation in its efforts to educate high school science teachers in delivering cancer biology curriculum to their students. Known as BioCONECT (Biology of Cancer Online Education Connecting Teens), the lessons, which focus on breast cancer, were developed by education experts from the LIFE Center at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Rutgers School of Public Health who conduct the teacher workshops. Nearly 20 teachers from schools in Gloucester and Camden Counties participated in the most recent training session held last week.

“Being a good corporate citizen is more than providing the traditional services expected of our company.  It means going above and beyond,” said Atlantic City Electric Region President Vince Maione. “The health and well being of every customer we serve are very important to us and our parent company Pepco Holdings, Inc. By supporting the Val Skinner Foundation in its efforts through the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and School of Public Health to educate young people about breast cancer and prevention, we believe we are playing an important role.” Atlantic City Electric supports the Val Skinner Foundation through its Annual Charity Golf Classic held in September.

BioCONECT is a science-based curriculum that has been offered to more than 200 high school teachers from approximately 80 schools in New Jersey and South Carolina (representing more than 50 school districts) since 2008.  The interactive program looks at the biology and genetics of breast cancer through the eyes of fictitious teenage twins, whose mother is diagnosed with the disease.  Students learn about breast health, breast cancer, cancer genetics and prevention through the twin’s website and blog.

It is a topic that hits close to home for the namesake and founder of the Val Skinner Foundation.  A veteran of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), Skinner lost a dear friend and fellow LPGA member who was only in her late 20’s to the disease. It was that loss that spurred Skinner to start the LIFE (LPGA pros In the Fight to Eradicate breast cancer) initiative designed to educate young women about breast cancer and that prevention and early detection are paramount.  One of the first steps in making her vision a reality was helping to establish the LIFE Center at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey over a decade ago.  The LIFE Center features a multidisciplinary team of medical oncologists, surgeons, genetic counselors, nurse practitioners, social workers, psychologists and other healthcare professionals dedicated to addressing the specific needs of young breast cancer patients through cutting-edge research, counseling, testing services and education programs.

Since its inception, the LIFE Center has received more than $4 million in funding from the Val Skinner Foundation “Breast cancer impacts one in eight women, meaning many people likely know someone with this disease.  While advances are being made in this fight by the medical and scientific communities, we need everyone’s help to make a difference,” notes Skinner.  “To have partners like Atlantic City Electric stand with us in bringing about breast cancer awareness is vital to the mission we are trying to achieve.” 

According to Deborah Toppmeyer, MD, director of both the LIFE Center and Stacey Goldstein Breast Cancer Center at the Cancer Institute and professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, awareness is key. “While the BioCONECT curriculum is designed to expand students’ knowledge of genetics and cancer development, the course also teaches them steps they can take to reduce their personal risk of cancer beginning now – lessons we hope they will share beyond the classroom with family and friends and future generations to come,” she said. “We are grateful to Atlantic City Electric for its continued dedication to the communities it serves. Their support further enhances the Cancer Institute’s ability to impact the people of southern New Jersey.”  It was just last year that the Cancer Institute was able to provide services and clinical trial offerings to the southernmost counties in the Garden State, having entered into an affiliation agreement with Shore Medical Center in Somers Point.

LIFE offerings and the support of the Val Skinner Foundation through its supporting partners continue to grow.  For instance, most recently stemming from BioCONECT was the development of the BOLD (BioCONECT Oncology Leadership Development) program, which is a summer learning opportunity for high school students examining cancer genetics. And as Skinner reminds us, education is only half the battle.  Research is also vital.  The Val Skinner Foundation also has given $100,000 to support the Cancer Institute’s precision medicine efforts, where genomic analysis is helping to identify more targeted treatments, as well as $50,000 for laboratory equipment helping advance the latest cancer discoveries.

About Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey ( is the state’s first and 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, quite literally bringing research to life.  To make a tax-deductible gift to support the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, call 732-235-8614 or visit Follow us on Facebook at

The Cancer Institute of New Jersey Network is comprised of hospitals throughout the state and provides the highest quality cancer care and rapid dissemination of important discoveries into the community. Flagship Hospital: Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. System Partner: Meridian Health (Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Ocean Medical Center, Riverview Medical Center, Southern Ocean Medical Center, and Bayshore Community Hospital). Major Clinical Research Affiliate Hospitals: Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Morristown Medical Center, Carol G. Simon Cancer Center at Overlook Medical Center, and Cooper University Hospital. Affiliate Hospitals: CentraState Healthcare System, JFK Medical Center, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton (CINJ Hamilton), Shore Medical Center, Somerset Medical Center, The University Hospital/Rutgers New Jersey Medical School*, and University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro. *Academic Affiliate

About Atlantic City Electric
Atlantic City Electric, a public utility owned by Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: POM), provides safe, reliable and affordable regulated electric delivery services to more than 545,000 customers in southern New Jersey. 


Michele Fisher


precision medicine at Rutgers Cancer Institute







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