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Diversity in Research and Development


Michael DeBaun, MD, MPH, director of the Vanderbilt-Meharry Center for Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease, has been awarded the American Society of Hematology’s 2019 ASH Mentor Award for his sustained and outstanding commitment to the training and career development of early career hematologists. The mentor award represents the hard work of his mentees in the United States, Nigeria, and Ghana who have taken on the challenge of focusing their life’s work on delivering and advancing the care of children and adults with sickle cell disease.


Dr. Darrell M. Gray, II, MD, MPH (pictured on the left), earns the Grand SCOPY, the highest honor among the SCOPY recipients and  recognizes the most innovative and multi-faceted integrated communications program that represents what can and should be done to raise colorectal cancer awareness.


In the U.S., racial and ethnic minorities have higher rates of chronic disease, obesity, and premature death than white people. Black patients in particular have among the worst health outcomes, experiencing higher rates of hypertension and stroke. And black men have the lowest life expectancy of any demographic group, living on average 4.5 fewer years than white men.

A number of factors contribute to these health disparities, but one problem has been a lack of diversity among physicians.


Keven injected older and younger mice with an experimental vaccine before also injecting them with aggressive colon cancer cells. One hundred percent of the younger mice developed immunity to the cancer while the older mice did not, leading Keven to conclude that older people with colon cancer might need separate treatment to successfully combat the disease. His research was published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, and he was a finalist in the 2013 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

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