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Inaugural Associate Director for Cancer Workforce Equity Named

Megha Ramaswamy, PhD, MPH, will serve as Associate Director for Cancer Workforce Equity.
Dr. Megha Ramaswamy

November 09, 2022

The University of Kansas Cancer Center has announced the appointment of Megha Ramaswamy, PhD, MPH, professor in the Department of Population Health, as its inaugural associate director for Cancer Workforce Equity. In this newly created role, Dr. Ramaswamy will be responsible for developing a plan to diversify the cancer research and care workforce.

Some racial, ethnic and geographically isolated groups experience a disproportionate burden of cancer. Delays in screening and treatment, limited access to quality care, and mistrust of the health care system are some of the factors contributing to these disparities. To help address cancer health disparities, our workforce must reflect the patient population. 

“What’s so exciting about this opportunity is that we will work alongside the 52 other National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the country to address cancer disparities from this same workforce development perspective,” Dr. Ramaswamy said.

The cancer center’s catchment area, which spans western Missouri and the entire state of Kansas, is particularly unique. About 4.5 million people live in the cancer center’s catchment area. Ninety-six of the counties they live in are deemed rural or frontier counties. One opportunity to enhance diversity in the workforce, according to Dr. Ramaswamy, is to make training, employment and leadership opportunities available to people who live in and will one day serve both rural and urban parts of Kansas and Missouri.

Dr. Ramaswamy is a nationally recognized researcher, educator and advocate for the health of incarcerated people. She is the principal investigator for the Sexual Health Empowerment Project, the only longitudinal grant-funded intervention in the country that addresses cancer risk for people involved in the criminal legal system. Her work has been continuously funded by the National Cancer Institute. She is also principal investigator of a National Institutes of Health-funded Science Education Partnership Award to build a health sciences workforce starting in high school, and Dr. Ramaswamy co-directs an early investigator training program for the Frontiers Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

“Dr. Ramaswamy’s new leadership role reflects our commitment to foster a diverse and equitable environment at The University of Kansas Cancer Center,” said Roy Jensen, MD, vice chancellor and director of KU Cancer Center. “Our catchment area is becoming increasingly diverse, and it’s vital that our workforce be reflective of that. Dr. Ramaswamy will be instrumental in our efforts to foster a diverse cancer research community and biomedical workforce.”

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