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CRCHD Announces the Establishment of Cancer Equity Leaders to Contribute to Health Equity Efforts, Host 2025 Event

, by CRCHD Staff

The NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities is thrilled to announce the Cancer Equity Leaders (CEL), a diverse team of premier cancer research leaders who will reimagine and transform the future of cancer health equity. To achieve this aim, the group will work toward three objectives:

  • Assess the landscape to elucidate critical strengths and gaps in cancer equity infrastructure.
  • Prioritize the critical needs for expanding institutional capacity and achieving cancer health equity.
  • Develop a strategic agenda to enhance the National Cancer Plan.

Through this work, the CEL will contribute to our understanding of cancer health equity and help CRCHD determine NCI’s diversity training, biomedical workforce development, and community outreach and engagement initiatives.

The CEL comprises 13 well-renowned and deeply respected cancer center and medical school leaders, with extensive expertise in the aforementioned areas and exceptional knowledge and understanding of all stages of the cancer continuum. See the full roster of this esteemed group below.

In 2025, the CEL team will host an event to hear and learn diverse perspectives across the cancer community to further advance NCI’s health equity efforts.

This initiative will be co-chaired by NCI CRCHD Director Sanya A. Springfield, Ph.D., and Karen Winkfield, M.D., Ph.D., Executive Director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance and Associate Director for Community Outreach & Engagement at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

CEL Planning Committee Co-Chairs

NIH/NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Heath Disparities - CEL Planning Committee Co-Chairs - Sanya A. Springfield, Ph.D. and Karen Winkfield, M.D., Ph.D.

Sanya A. Springfield, Ph.D.
Director, Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities
National Cancer Institute

Karen Winkfield, M.D., Ph.D.
Executive Director
Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance
Associate Director for Community Outreach & Engagement
Ingram Professor of Cancer Research
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
Professor of Radiation Oncology
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Professor of Global Health
Meharry Medical College

CEL Members

Cancer Equity Leaders - Shaping the Future of Cancer Equity

John Carpten, Ph.D.
Director, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
Director, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope
Chief Scientific Officer
Irell & Manella Cancer Center Director’s Distinguished Chair
Morgan & Helen Chu Director’s Chair of the Beckman Research Institute
City of Hope

Marcia Cruz-Correa, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Medicine & Biochemistry, University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus
Investigator, UPR Comprehensive Cancer Center

Chanita Hughes-Halbert, Ph.D.
Vice Chair for Research and Professor, Department of Population and Public Health Sciences
Dr. Arthur and Priscilla Ulene Chair in Women’s Cancer, Keck School of Medicine
Associate Director for Cancer Equity, Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
University of Southern California

Juanita Merchant, M.D., Ph.D.
Chief of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Regents Professor of Medicine
Associate Director for Basic Science, UACC
Interim Director, UA Comprehensive Cancer Center
University of Arizona, Tucson

Ruben Mesa, M.D.
President, Atrium Health Levine Cancer
Executive Director, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center
Enterprise Senior Vice President, Atrium Health
Vice Dean for Cancer Programs, Wake Forest University School of Medicine
The Charles L. Spurr MD Professor of Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine

Valerie Montgomery Rice, M.D.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Morehouse School of Medicine

Kunle Odunsi, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center
Dean for Oncology, Biological Sciences Division
The AbbVie Foundation Distinguished Service Professor
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
University of Chicago

Taofeek Owonikoko, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center
Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Professor in Oncology, Department of Medicine
Executive Director, UMSOM Program in Oncology
Senior Associate Dean for Cancer Programs, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Associate Vice President for Cancer Programs, University of Maryland, Baltimore

Ben Ho Park, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
Benjamin F. Byrd, Jr. Chair in Oncology
Professor of Medicine
Division of Hematology/Oncology
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Yolanda Sanchez, Ph.D.
The Maurice and Marguerite Liberman Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research
Professor, Department of Internal Medicine
Director & CEO, University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center

Selwyn Vickers, M.D.
President and CEO, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Cheryl Willman, M.D.
The Stephen and Barbara Slaggie Enterprise Executive Director, Mayo Clinic Cancer Programs
Director, Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center
The David A. Ahlquist, M.D. Professorship in Cancer Research
Professor and Consultant
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine & Science

Robert Winn, M.D.
Director and Lipman Chair in Oncology, VCU Massey Comprehensive Cancer Center
Senior Associate Dean for Cancer Innovation and Professor of Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine
VCU School of Medicine

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