MD Anderson’s Christopher Flowers, M.D., receives ASH Mentor Award

Christopher Flowers, M.D., division head ad interim of Cancer Medicine and chair of Lymphoma & Myeloma at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, has received a 2022 ASH Mentor Award from the American Society of Hematology in acknowledgement of his career-long commitment to mentoring.

“It is an honor to be recognized for something that I am very passionate about. Key mentors have impacted my career profoundly, so I understand the value these deep and long-lasting relationships can have on career success,” Flowers said. “I am thankful for all of my mentors and for their support throughout my career. I also am grateful for my mentees allowing me to participate in their journey toward becoming the next generation of leaders in hematology and oncology.”

The ASH Mentor Award was created to reward outstanding mentors in the hematology community who have guided, supported and promoted the training and career development of others. Each year, ASH recognizes two outstanding mentors from any branch of hematology as part of their Honorific Awards. Flowers will be recognized during a ceremony at the 2022 ASH Annual Meeting.

Flowers is a globally recognized leader in lymphoma clinical and population science research as well as a national leader in hematology and medical oncology. He has made significant contributions to the field, including revealing racial disparities in lymphoid cancers and supporting the successful development of the first PI3-kinase inhibitor and CD79b-direct therapy in oncology. He has led numerous cohort studies that provided a greater understanding of the etiology, outcomes and survivorship around lymphoma. To date, he has authored over 300 articles and published in multiple top peer-reviewed journals.

As a medical and graduate student, Flowers was inspired to become a clinical investigator and mentor through his research that focused on physicians who served as “clinical champions” and sped up the process of drug development. In his mentoring, Flowers is particularly committed to the career-long development and support of women and underrepresented minorities in clinical research.

“Chris’ dedication to guiding the next generation of health care leaders is a testament to his generosity and passion for ending cancer,” said Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “His contribution to the development of talented and skilled leaders in this field is a gift to our institution, and we applaud his commitment to this noble and important role.”

Flowers has mentored numerous junior investigators through formal ASH programs such as the Minority Medical Student Award Program, the Clinical Research Training Institute (CRTI), and the Amos Medical Faculty Development Program. In addition, he has mentored trainees at all levels, including fellows, residents, medical students, undergraduates and high school students, who wished to pursue careers in cancer research.

Flowers is a founding member and the current chair of the renamed ASH Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), and he helped develop the ASH Minority Recruitment Initiative, which provides a 13-year pipeline of awards extending from the first year of medical school to faculty positions. Seventeen of his mentees from groups underrepresented in medicine are now medical school faculty. He also served as a faculty member for four national research training programs and one international program, including co-leading ASH CRTI and the Lymphoma Research Foundation Lymphoma Clinical Research Mentoring Program.

Flowers has been a member of ASH since 2003 and held numerous leadership roles, including chair of the ASH Committee on Promoting Diversity (2019-2022, now Committee on DEI), ASH Executive Committee Member (2021-2022), co-chair of the ASH Annual Meeting Education Program (2020), and was recently elected as an ASH Councillor. In addition, he has served on the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Board of Directors, the Lymphoma Research Foundation Scientific Advisory Board and Executive Committee, and the Conference on Malignant Lymphoma American Association for Cancer Research Scientific Advisory Committee. In each of these roles, Flowers has mentored others and supported new opportunities for his mentees.