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M. D. Anderson's Margaret Spitz Honored by Greater Houston Women's Chamber of Commerce

Spitz one of eight 2008 Hall of Fame inductees

M. D. Anderson News Release 12/01/08


Margaret Spitz, M.D., professor and former chair of epidemiology at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, is one of eight distinguished inductees into the inaugural Greater Houston Women's Chamber of Commerce (GHWCC) Hall of Fame.

"I am deeply honored to be inducted into the Greater Houston Women's Hall of Fame. Women have always played leading roles in public health and specifically in epidemiology," said Spitz, "both nationally and in our own department of epidemiology that I have been privileged to chair. Our women faculty are superb scientists, dedicated mentors, and inspirational role models for fellows and trainees. To be recognized for promoting their advancement in the field to which I am so deeply committed honors their contributions as much as mine."

The award is divided into eight categories. Spitz is being recognized in the Science, Technology, Engineering or Math category. She was unanimously elected by the GHWCC board of directors and will receive the award at a 6 p.m. gala held Dec. 1 at the Hyatt Regency Houston, 1200 Louisiana St.

Spitz will join seven other distinguished inductees: First Lady Barbara Bush, Donna Cole, Sonny Messiah-Jiles, Joanne King Herring, Joella Morris, Mica Mosbacher and Janie Reyes.

"Dr. Spitz was chosen as a 2008 Inductee for her internationally recognized research for cancer prevention and for her trail-blazing efforts for encouraging women to enter the scientific field," said Suzan Deison, GHWCC president and chief operating officer.

Elizabeth Travis, Ph.D., associate vice president of Women Faculty Programs at M. D. Anderson, also recognized Spitz' commitment to mentoring women. "She truly sets the standard for women in science and her career will be an inspiration for future scientists of all genders for generations," she commented.

Spitz joined the M. D. Anderson faculty in 1981 as an assistant professor and was named founding chair of epidemiology in 1995, a position from which she retired in August of this year. During her career at M. D. Anderson, Spitz has conducted innovative molecular and genetic epidemiology research, and continues to provide mentorship in her new position as special advisor to Ernest T. Hawk, M.D., vice president for Prevention and head of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences.

The research led by Spitz focuses on inter-individual variation in susceptibility to tobacco carcinogenesis. Spitz, who has contributed to more than 350 scientific publications, currently serves as principal investigator on three National Institutes of Health research project grants totaling in excess of $8.3 million.

Currently, the department she built has 29 faculty, 215 employees and a research budget of $20 million. In 2004, Spitz was the first woman in the UT System selected for ithe highest-level endowed position, the Olga Keith Wiess Distinguished University Chair for Cancer Research, and in 1991, she was the first recipient of the Julie and Ben Rogers Award for Excellence in the area of cancer prevention.

Founded in December 2007, the GHWCC is a nonprofit organization with more than 300 member businesses. The group is dedicated to the advancement and empowerment of women through avenues of leadership, education, advocacy and mentoring. The other award categories are Arts & Culture, Business, the Professions & Entrepreneurs, Education & Training, Health & Wellness, public Service and Volunteer Community Service.  12/01/08

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center