In This Section

Folakemi T. Odedina, PhD, Recognized with 2023 AACR Distinguished Lectureship on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities

ORLANDO, Fla. – The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) will award Folakemi T. Odedina, PhD, with the 2023 AACR Distinguished Lectureship on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities during the 16th AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, to be held September 29-October 2.

This special AACR lectureship 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.

Odedina is the enterprise deputy director for community outreach and engagement and professor of oncology at the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center. She also serves as co-director of the African Clinical Trials Consortium and interim co-director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Health Equity and Community Engagement Research. She is being honored for her seminal research in understanding and implementing community-based behavioral interventions to improve the health of minority populations, her dedication to facilitating and promoting clinical trial participation among underserved and underrepresented populations, and her leadership in training the next generation of health equity scientists.

Odedina’s research focuses on understanding and addressing inequities experienced by Black men with cancer, from diagnosis to survivorship. In 2005, Odedina founded the Prostate Cancer Transatlantic Consortium (CaPTC) to explore the genetic and environmental causes of prostate cancer and to develop ethnically sensitive, targeted approaches to eliminating prostate cancer disparities in Black men. CaPTC now consists of more than 500 members and 40 sites worldwide.

Moreover, her lab studies the spectrum of factors contributing to the underrepresentation of patients with African ancestry in clinical trials. To increase the diversity of participants in clinical trials, Odedina’s lab developed the Mayo Clinic Community Research Registry, a database of patients from underrepresented populations who have consented to be contacted for clinical trials and biospecimen research. To further improve the diversity of trial participants, her lab has organized community education programs, research training webinars, and scientific conferences focused on clinical trials to help educate all relevant stakeholders.

Odedina also developed the Community Living Lab (CoLLab) Health System, which provides access to comprehensive cancer resources, education, and clinical trial information for Black populations in Duval County’s Health Zone 1, a region with historically higher levels of poverty, lower levels of education attainment, and higher rates of multiple chronic health conditions.

Odedina is revered for her dedication to supporting the next generation of investigators focused on health disparities, receiving the Insight into Diversity magazine’s Inspiring Women in STEM Award (2016) and the Minority Access Role Model Award (2005) for her mentorship. She has received numerous other awards for her scholarship, including the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer Williams Award (2017), the Association for Good Clinical Practice in Nigeria Living Legend Award (2017),

the CMS Old Grammarians Society Education and Service Award (2015), the Leadership Award for Health Disparities (2009) and Research and Publication Achievement Award (2004) from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (AHSP)-Association Of Black Health System Pharmacists (ABHP), the National Association of Yoruba Descendants in North America Prostate Cancer Scientist Award (2009), the Researcher of the Year Award (2008), Community Service Award (2004), and Dean’s Appreciation Award (2001, 2000) from the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) College of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, the University of Florida Superior Accomplishment Award (2004), the American Pharmacists Association Best Published Paper Award (1999), and the AHSP Pharmacy Practice Research Award (1997).

Odedina has been a member of the AACR since 1998. She is currently a member of the AACR’s Cancer Prevention Working Group and AACR Population Sciences Working Group as well as the AACR Minorities in Cancer Research and AACR Women in Cancer Research constituency groups. She was previously a member of the AACR’s Minorities in Cancer Research Council (2020-2023) and the AACR Behavioral Science in Cancer Research Working Group (2019). She also served on the AACR Distinguished Lectureship on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities Award Committee (2015-2017). She has previously received the AACR Minority and Minority-Serving Institution Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research Award (2007, 2002, 1998).

Odedina received her undergraduate degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University (formerly the University of Ife) and her PhD in pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Florida.

Odedina’s award lecture will be held during the Opening Session of the conference on Friday, September 29, at 4 p.m. ET.

Download a Photo of Dr. Odedina