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In Memoriam: Dr. Mary Ann S. Van Duyn

, by CRCHD Staff

Mary Ann Van Duyn

Mary Ann S. Van Duyn, PhD, MPH

It is with the deepest and most profound sadness that the Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities (CRCHD) shares the loss of our long-time colleague and beloved friend Dr. Mary Ann S. Van Duyn, who passed away on March 7, 2023, following a short battle with cancer. 

“Mary Ann was a wonderful colleague, empathetic leader, and dear friend and, from day one, welcomed me as the Center director. For 16 years, she gave her all to the mission of the Center — and she had tons to give,” said CRCHD Director Dr. Sanya A. Springfield. “I am devastated by her passing. More than anything, my heart aches for — and my prayers will remain with — Don, Sarah, Matthew, Rosie, Henry, Tricia, and the rest of her family.”

Mary Ann was CRCHD’s Associate Deputy Director for Integration when she retired from the NCI at the end of 2021, following more than 20 years of exceptional leadership and service to the NCI. She started in NCI's Health Promotion Branch before spending the rest of her career with CRCHD.

During her time in the Center, Mary Ann expertly led the integration of the Center’s flagship initiatives, deftly directed communication and dissemination, and propelled the training navigation initiative forward. Her contributions were pivotal to the growth and evolution of CRCHD-supported disparities research, diversity training, and community- and network-based programs. She assisted CRCHD, NCI, the National Institutes of Health, and the nation in communicating the importance of enhancing the diversity of cancer research training and reducing cancer disparities, so that the cancer research and health care workforce may reflect our nation and so that we may level the uneven burden of cancer. 

Mary Ann was exceptionally kind, thoughtful, and intelligent. She was an eagle-eyed editor, caring mentor, and strategic thinker. A rare skill, Mary Ann could simultaneously see the big picture and the nitty-gritty details with the same clarity. Her poise, composure, and general nature awed and were the envy of many. She embodied the very best of public service and what NCI strives to do for the health and well-being of all Americans.

Mary Ann’s love for her family could not have been more evident. No matter the time, place, or circumstance, she beamed with an unbridled joy when talking about her children and grandchildren. What’s more, she shared a similar excitement when hearing colleagues’ stories about their children and families. 

We, the CRCHD family, will sorely miss and never forget our dear friend. 

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