Karen Winkfield

President Joe Biden has appointed Karen Winkfield, executive director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance, to serve a six-year term on the National Cancer Advisory Board. 

Winkfield was named the executive director of the Vanderbilt-Meharry Alliance last year after leaving Wake Forest University, where she served as director of the Wake Forest Baptist Comprehensive Cancer Center Office of Health Equity. 

During her career, Winkfield co-founded and served as director of the Association of Black Radiation Oncologist and chaired the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Health Disparities Committee. Prior to that, she was a radiation oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center.  

Alongside leading the alliance, Winkfield is now also a professor of radiation oncology and cancer research as Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a professor of medicine at Meharry Medical College. 

The board advises the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the director of the National Cancer Institute on strategies addressing the causes, diagnoses, prevention and treatment of cancers, according to a press release. 

“For someone like me, who is focused on health equity and ensuring that everyone — regardless of their race, ethnicity, geographical location or socioeconomic background — has the same chance to survive cancer and survive it well, this is a golden opportunity,” Winkfield said in the release. “I am eager to bring my health equity lens to cancer programming at the national level.”

Winkfield joins fellow Vanderbilt professor Scott Hiebert on the 18-person board. Hiebert was appointed by former President Barack Obama in 2016. 

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