Johns Hopkins Cancer Health Community Outreach Takes Next Step with Appointment of Otis Brawley

01/23/2019

Otis W. Brawley, M.D., an authority on cancer screening and prevention who served as chief medical and scientific officer for the American Cancer Society and director of the Georgia Cancer Center at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, has been named a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University.

Brawley will lead a broad interdisciplinary research effort of cancer health disparities at JHU’s Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Caner Center, working to close racial, economic, and social disparities in the prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer in the United States and worldwide.

He will also direct community outreach programs for underserved populations throughout Maryland as the Kimmel Cancer Center’s associate director for community outreach and engagement.

“I am humbled to join the faculty,” Brawley says. “It is a true privilege to be awarded a Bloomberg Distinguished Professorship. I appreciate the trust given me by the amazing scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. I plan to continue my work looking at how health care, especially oncology, is practiced. This is an opportunity to be vocal about the appropriate interpretation and application of science to relieve human suffering.”

A former professor of oncology and hematology and deputy director for cancer control at the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University in Atlanta, Brawley is expected to see prostate cancer patients while at Johns Hopkins. He will teach undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Epidemiology in the Bloomberg School, the Department of Oncology at the School of Medicine, and the university’s Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

“We’ve made considerable progress in cancer mortality rates in the past quarter century,” says Ellen J. MacKenzie, dean of the Bloomberg School. “We welcome Dr. Brawley in his new role. His many years working in this field with a critical focus on cancer treatment disparities and prevention, particularly among underserved communities, will allow our students and faculty to continue to advance this research trajectory.”

William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center added, “He is a leading voice in the thoughtful development of cancer screening strategies and ensuring their effectiveness. He is a key figure in cancer health disparities and is poised to serve the people of Baltimore, of Maryland, and beyond. As a dedicated teacher, he will train the next generation of physicians and researchers to reduce the threat of cancer.”

Brawley is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and recently received the Martin D. Abeloff Award for Excellence in Public Health and Cancer Control from the Maryland State Council of Cancer Control. The award, named after the director of the Kimmel Cancer Center from 1992 until his death in 2007, was established to recognize advancements made in cancer control practices that influenced the field of public health on a statewide, national, or global scale.

“Johns Hopkins has a deep commitment to partnering with our communities to enhance access and improve outcomes for all who are diagnosed with cancer,” says Landon King, executive vice dean for the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “We are excited to accelerate those efforts under the guidance of Dr. Brawley, who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Baltimore.”

Brawley is a graduate of the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine. He completed an internal medicine residency at University Hospitals of Cleveland, Case-Western Reserve University and a fellowship in medical oncology at the National Cancer Institute.

At the American Cancer Society, he was responsible for promoting the goals of cancer prevention, early detection, and quality treatment through cancer research and education. He championed efforts to decrease smoking and implement other lifestyle risk reduction programs, as well as to provide critical support to cancer patients, and concentrate cancer control efforts in areas where they could be most effective.

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Brawley to the Johns Hopkins community,” says Sunil Kumar, the university’s provost and senior vice president. “As a global leader in cancer research and health disparities, Dr. Brawley’s scholarship and impact embody the intent of the Bloomberg Distinguished Professorship.” 

Brawley is the 39th Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins and will take his place among an interdisciplinary cohort of scholars working to address major world problems and teach the next generation of physicians, scientists, and academics. The program is backed by a $350 million gift from Michael R. Bloomberg, a Johns Hopkins alumnus, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, World Health Organization Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action, and former New York City mayor.