Cancer Patient Navigator Team


Our Community Navigators

Vanessa Antrum, Smith Center Breast Care Patient Navigator

Vanessa Antrum

Vanessa K. Antrum has a Masters in Social Service Administration from Howard University and has worked for the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for over 25 years. Vanessa is blessed to be a six-year breast cancer survivor and after recuperating, she wanted to “give back” to women who were experiencing what she went through. She began visiting women who were having mastectomies at the hospital where she spent so much time and has been trained as a Patient Navigator. Vanessa has served on the Leadership Board of the American Cancer Society and is currently a Breast Care Navigator with Smith Center, working out of Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church. Having been a church member for over 24 years, Vanessa has served in many capacities and is currently a member of the Women’s Alliance Board and the Marriage Ministry. She also does educational presentations on breast health (and other topics) for the community and her church.

Reach Vanessa at:


Rev. Shirley Gravely-Currie

Rev. Shirley Gravely-Currie, Smith Center Breast Care Patient Navigator

Rev. Shirley Gravely-Currie is the Director of Development at Howard University School of Divinity where she earned her Master of Divinity degree. She also holds a Master of Business & Public Administration degree in Administrative Management and a Bachelor of Science in Business Education.

Since being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1979, Rev. Gravely-Currie has been a staunch advocate in support of education about cancer prevention, treatment and recovery. She has served as a Breast Care Navigator with Smith Center since 2008, working out of Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church in Southeast, Washington, DC where she serves as Associate Pastor. Rev. Gravely-Currie is also an On-Call Chaplain at Washington Hospital Center.

Reach Rev. Shirley at:


Thelma Jones

Thelma Jones, Smith Center Breast Care Patient Navigator

Thelma Jones is a breast cancer survivor and a trained Community Navigator with Smith Center. She is also an advocate and certified Breast Health Educator for the American Cancer Society. Her specific area of focus includes women of color in the Southwest DC area and the community-at-large, and she established a breast cancer support group in April 2010. Thelma is a retired Community Outreach Coordinator for the World Bank Group where, in 2009, she organized a high-level breast cancer seminar where her message of early detection, prevention, and treatment reached hundreds of people both locally and globally. In August 2010, she received the Mayor’s coveted Community Service Award in the category of Lifetime Achievement.

Reach Thelma at:


Ma Diakite

Ma Diakite, Smith Center Breast Care Patient Navigator

Ma Diakite is our French-speaking Patient Navigator at-large who hails from the Ivory Coast. She is well known in the French-speaking African community and has been trained extensively in patient navigation. Ma saw the need in the African community for support and access to resources and joined the African Women’s Cancer Awareness Association in 2009, where she raised awareness about cancer in the local African community and provided cancer education and support to area women and men.

Reach Ma at:


Myrtle Washington

Myrtle Washington, Smith Center Breast Care Patient Navigator

Myrtle Washington graduated from Union Theological Seminary and Antioch School of Law. She spent 13 years at a Washington law firm and has worked at several area non-profits including her current position at Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia. Myrtle was instrumental in pioneering the position of Breast Care Navigator at Howard University Cancer Center and contributed to the development of Smith Center’s navigation training program. She is currently a Breast Care Navigator at Union Temple Baptist Church. Myrtle is also a 33-year breast cancer survivor and has spent at least 25 of those years navigating women with a breast cancer diagnosis through the healthcare system.

Reach Myrtle at:


Smith Center for Healing and the Arts African Immigrant Navigation Services

Smith Center offers navigation services and education programs to the greater Washington area’s African immigrant community through our navigator, Ma Diakite, and in partnership with the African Women’s Cancer Awareness Association (8701 Georgia Avenue, Suite 600, Silver Spring, MD 20910 301.565.0420. to provide navigation support to any African immigrant residing in the greater metropolitan Washington DC area.

To Top