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Passion + Brains = Excellence in Prevention

Promise - Fall 2011

By Michelle Moore

Lorna McNeill, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Health Disparities Research at MD Anderson, is the recipient of the 2011 Julie and Ben Rogers Award for Excellence in Prevention.

Lorna McNeill, Ph.D., focuses
on improving outcomes 
among African-Americans, 
who have the highest 
incidence and shortest 
survival rate of any racial 
group for most cancers.
Photo by Barry Smith

The $10,000 award, which rotates annually among the areas of patient care, research, education, prevention and administration, recognizes employees who consistently demonstrate excellence in their work and dedication to 
MD Anderson’s mission to eliminate cancer.

Regina Rogers, a senior member of the 
MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors, established the award 25 years ago in honor of her parents, the late Julie and Ben Rogers, and in appreciation of the treatment her brother and her mother received at the institution.

McNeill, who joined MD Anderson in 2006, co-directs the Center for Community, Implementation, and Dissemination Research at the Duncan Family Institute for Cancer Prevention and Risk Assessment. She also serves on the faculty of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Her colleagues and friends describe her as a force of energy for change who combines the qualities of leadership, passion and brains.

McNeill is lead on a cohort study called Project CHURCH, designed to research and learn about cancer risk in African-Americans to improve cancer-related outcomes in this population. The collaborative effort between MD Anderson and the local community includes the largest United Methodist church in the nation.

“Some say that community-based research is messy or unscientific. I say that it’s neither of those,” says McNeill. “Rather, it’s the pathway toward truly eliminating health disparities in cancer risk and outcomes.”

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center