Funded by Susan G. Komen for the Cure®
Dr. Claudia Baquet was awarded the 2012 AACR Distinguished Lecture on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities, funded by Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Dr. Baquet was honored for her significant contributions to the science of cancer health disparities. She is passionate about patient education and outreach as well as rural health research and has actively worked to improve health disparities all over the world.
Her early work at the NCI led to a vital policy change that would require ethnicity and race to be included when reporting cancer statistics. This led to the development of the first intervention trials in African American populations that would tackle cancer screening and tobacco cessation. Still actively involved in health policy and legislation, Dr. Baquet was the 2004 co-recipient of the U.S. Department HHS Best Practice Award for “Increasing Availability of Community-Based Clinical Trials on the Eastern Shore.” The Maryland Senate has also formally recognized her for her work to reduce cancer disparities and most recently for her longstanding and deep commitment to the community.
“Dr. Baquet’s work has been instrumental in our understanding of the issues that underlie the significant disparities in cancer outcomes for minority and underserved populations,” said Chandini Portteus, Komen’s Vice President of Research, Evaluation and Scientific Programs. “She is highly regarded not just for her scientific and clinical expertise, but for making tangible strides toward health equity, and we are delighted that she is being recognized.”
Her 2012 AACR Award lecture highlighted some of the recent work that she has pioneered through the University of Maryland to increase clinical trial enrollment of African American patients from the rural areas of the Maryland Outer Banks area. The programs she has developed seek to remove the mystery and stigma sometimes associated with research. They work to increase public trust through better understanding of what the researchers want to accomplish as well as what ethical safeguards are in place. Other programs available for community education include the University of Maryland Mini Med School, which promotes cancer awareness, evidence-based methods for cancer prevention, early detection, health disparities research and the importance of clinical trials participation.
Born in New Orleans, she completed her M.D. from Meharry Medical College, Tennessee, and her M.P.H. in Epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University and a fellowship in Pathology at St. Louis University. Her work with the University of Maryland started in 1994 as the university’s health care policy liaison and she is now a Professor of Medicine and the Associate Dean for Policy and Planning as well as the Director of the National Bioethics and Health Disparities Research Center.