Margaret R. Spitz, M.D. (320x240)
Margaret R. Spitz, M.D.

Dr. Margaret Spitz, professor in the NCI-designated Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine, has been appointed by President Barack Obama as a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB).

A renowned expert in molecular epidemiology, Spitz has a long-standing interest in genetic susceptibility to lung cancer, with an emphasis on variation among individuals in susceptibility to tobacco carcinogenesis.

“It is an honor to be appointed by President Obama as a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board,” said Spitz. “I am excited to play a part in advocacy for cancer prevention and health disparities, and I look forward to serving with other talented researchers and physicians to contribute to meaningful conversation and action in the fight against cancer.”

The primary task of the 18-member NCAB is to advise the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the director of the National Cancer Institute  on a range of issues affecting the nation’s cancer program and on NCI operations. The NCAB also reviews and recommends grants and cooperative agreements following technical and scientific peer review.

Dr. Joseph Fraumeni, former director of the NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, noted that he “can’t think of anyone more qualified to represent our field” when hearing of Dr. Spitz’s appointment.

At Baylor, Spitz provides strategic direction in growing the Duncan Cancer Center’s Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences Program and is dedicated to training the next generation of epidemiologists. She is the principal investigator of the recently funded CPRIT Post-Graduate Training Program in Integrative Cancer Epidemiology.

“Dr. Spitz is an incredible asset to our team here at Baylor, especially within the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center,” said Dr. Kent Osborne, director of the center. “The contributions she has made throughout her career are truly invaluable, and I have full confidence in her leadership through the National Cancer Advisory Board.”

While at MD Anderson, she was the first woman in the University of Texas System selected for a Distinguished University Chair, and she was recently honored as the 2016 Distinguished MD Anderson Alumnus. She is the recipient of other awards and accolades, including Distinguished Scientist of the Association of American Cancer Institutes, the AACR-American Cancer Society Award for Research Excellence in Epidemiology and Prevention, the American Society of Preventive Oncology’s Distinguished Achievement Award and the Abraham Lilienfeld Award from the American College of Epidemiology.