American Association for Cancer Research

AACR Distinguished Lecture on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities, funded by Susan G. Komen

AACR Distinguished Lectureship on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities, funded by Susan G. Komen®

Nominations for the 2014 award are now open.

Nomination Deadline: 4:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on Wednesday, June 18, 2014.

  • Read more about the 2013 AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities.
  • Learn more about the 2013 award recipient, Dr. Beti Thompson.

The Award and Lecture

The AACR Distinguished Lectureship on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities, funded by Susan G. Komen® recognizes an investigator whose novel and significant work has had or may have a far-reaching impact on the etiology, detection, diagnosis, treatment or prevention of cancer health disparities.

The recipient of the award will receive a $5,000 honorarium and present a 45-minute lecture at the Seventh Annual AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved. 


  • All cancer researchers who are affiliated with any institution involved in cancer research, cancer medicine or cancer-related biomedical science anywhere in the world may be nominated. Such institutions include those in academia, industry or government.
  • The award will be presented to an individual investigator.
  • Institutions or organizations are not eligible for the award.

Nomination Process

Nominations are open.

Nominations may be made by any scientist, whether an AACR member or nonmember, who is now or has been affiliated with any institution involved in cancer research, cancer medicine or cancer-related biomedical science. Candidates may not nominate themselves. 

Nomination Procedure and Instructions

Full nomination instructions and program guidelines are available at Program Guidelines and Nomination Instructions. Download the Adobe Acrobat Reader here

Selection Process

Candidates will be considered by a committee. After careful deliberation by the committee, its recommendations will be forwarded to the Executive Committee of the AACR for final consideration and decision. Selection of the award recipient will be made on the basis of the candidate's scientific accomplishments without regard to race, gender, nationality, geographic location or religious or political views.

Susan G. Komen

Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen for the Cure and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen for the Cure is the world's largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. For more than 25 years, Komen for the Cure has played a critical role in every major advance in the fight against breast cancer - transforming how the world talks about and treats this disease and helping to turn millions of breast cancer patients into breast cancer survivors.



Linda Stokes, Program Associate

American Association for Cancer Research
615 Chestnut Street, 17th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106-4404
(215) 446-7128


Beti Thompson, Ph.D.
2013 Award Recipient
Beti Thompson, Ph.D.
Associate Program Head
Associate Director for Health Disparities Research
Cancer Prevention Research Program, Public Health Sciences Division
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Seattle, WA
Professor, Health Services
University of Washington
Seattle, WA

Dr. Beti Thompson is honored for her contributions in developing one of the nation’s preeminent programs in cancer health disparities that is based on an overarching goal to discover why disparities in occurrence exist, to help ascertain the precursors to cancer, and to build capacity in community-based research to investigate, educate, and treat cancer. Due to her scientific contributions and leadership, Dr. Thompson is an invaluable member of many research teams and leads the Health Disparities Research Center at the Hutchinson Center.

Dr. Thompson’s research began by recognizing that tobacco exposures, the leading cause of cancer death, might be reduced, in part by engaging the community in tobacco control efforts. This approach has led her to define her research program focused on other populations with disparate access to the many cancer prevention approaches that are available to the mainstream population. Her program in disparities research has included community-based participatory research, and she is a leader in this approach to cancer control. Dr. Thompson recognized that there are many venues that must be intervened upon to achieve cancer morbidity and mortality reduction. Her activities have included primary care clinics, worksites, the home, schools, communities, and youth parks. Her approaches have included radio novellas, phone counseling, email, lunchtime cooking sessions, intervention studies of native diets and their metabolic effects, home health parties, and working in close collaboration with community-based institutions (hospitals, four-year and community colleges) to increase cancer screening. She has also engaged Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and New Mexico State University laboratory scientists in collaborative studies to understand the biological basis for many of the disparities observed in cancer, diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases. Through this myriad of research approaches, she has reached many populations, and is at the forefront of intervention research and dissemination.

These accomplishments have been achieved because of her great facility in including many disciplines, collaborators, organizations, and community stakeholders. Dr. Thompson’s research program has always had a service element: to give back to the community. Her goals have been to listen to what the people think is important and deliver the science in response to their need. Dr. Thompson’s commitment to research in disparities is because minorities have been unable to benefit from the substantial knowledge and recommendations for behavior change to reduce their cancer burden.

Dr. Thompson’s outstanding research is highlighted in the many grants, publications, and distinctions she has received. She is currently principal investigator of seven awards, including three center grants and co-investigator on several others. She has 180 peer-reviewed publications. She also has a long-standing commitment to training the next generation of cancer control and health disparities researchers. She has been an active mentor to nearly 40 Master of Public Health and predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows.

Dr. Thompson received her B.A. in English and sociology from Grand Valley State University in Michigan where she graduated magna cum laude. She then went on to earn her M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the Western Michigan University. Dr. Thompson currently serves as associate program head and associate director for Health Disparities Research, Cancer Prevention Program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Thompson also serves as professor in the Health Services division at Washington University.

Dr. Thompson has received several honors and awards for her achievements in disparities research, including the University of Washington School of Public Health’s Distinguished Faculty Lecture (2005), the Women of Color Mentor Award (2005); the University of Washington Mentor of the Year Award (2006); the Women of Valor award, as presented by Washington’s U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (2011); and the APHA Latino Caucus Distinguished Nationally Known Health Professional (2012). In addition, she was elected to the Washington State Academy of Science in 2012.