MARIA CAROLINA HINESTROSA, executive vice president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition for the past five years and formerly executive director of Nueva Vida, a support network for Latinas with breast and cervical cancer in the Washington, D.C., area, died June 21. She had soft tissue sarcoma, a side effect of past breast cancer treatment. She was 50.

With NBCC, she led educational, research, and quality care initiatives, spearheaded health care reform efforts, and spoke on behalf of the coalition.

“Carolina had incredible courage and compassion, she dedicated herself to pushing the research community to think about their work differently and to always focus on saving lives,” said NBCC President Fran Visco. “She was extraordinary in every way and impatient with the status quo… and she loved to dance.”

Hinestrosa served as chairman of the Integration Panel of the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program and sat on several Institute of Medicine and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality committees. She also served on the National Quality Forum, the Ethical Task Force of the American Medical Association, and the National Action Plan on Breast Cancer Consumer Involvement Working Group.

Hinestrosa was a driving force behind the convening of a 2005 workshop on biomarker research, which resulted in the first, and to date only, advocate-authored article published in the journal Nature Reviews Cancer.

Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Hinestrosa came to the U.S. in 1985 as a Fulbright Scholar to pursue a master’s degree in economics at Western Illinois University. She worked as a business economist in Colombia and New Zealand before moving to the Washington area in 1993.

Following a breast cancer diagnosis in 1994, Hinestrosa and a group of survivors and health care professionals formed Nueva Vida, the only comprehensive support network for Latinas with breast and cervical cancer in the Washington metropolitan area.

While executive director of Nueva Vida, Hinestrosa brought the voice of Latinas with breast cancer to the national stage, representing the organization on the board of directors of the National Breast Cancer Coalition and NCI’s Central Institutional Review Board. She also played a leading role in the development of the International Latina Breast Cancer Advocacy Network.

She completed a Masters of Public Health, concentrating on health policy, at George Washington University in 2001.

She is survived by her husband, Michael Moses, and daughter, Isabel Hinestrosa, of Bethesda, Md.; parents Fabio and Marina Hinestrosa of Ibague, Colombia; siblings Martha and Marina of San Francisco; Angela, of Ibague, Colombia; and Guillermo and Maria Cecilia of Bogotá, Colombia.

At the family’s request, the National Breast Cancer Coalition has established a tribute fund to honor Carolina’s memory: or send contributions to NBCC, 1101 17th Street NW Suite 1300, Washington, DC, 20036, Attention: M. Carolina Hinestrosa Memorial Fund.