September 27, 2021
Kelly Nelson, M.D., honored with Julie and Ben Rogers Award for Excellence
BY Allison Schaffer
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center has awarded Kelly Nelson, M.D., associate professor, Dermatology, the Julie and Ben Rogers Award for Excellence in Cancer Prevention. The annual award recognizes employees who consistently demonstrate excellence in their work and dedication to MD Anderson’s mission to end cancer. The award's focus rotates annually among the areas of patient care, research, education, prevention and administration.
Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson, and Regina Rogers, a Life Member of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors, led a virtual awards ceremony today announcing Nelson as the 2021 recipient. She received a $15,000 prize and a framed certificate of merit.
Four additional finalists were recognized at the virtual ceremony along with Nelson. They each received a $2,500 prize as well as a certificate of merit:
- Karen Basen-Engquist, Ph.D., professor, Behavioral Science
- Jennifer Cofer, director, End Tobacco, Cancer Prevention & Control Platform
- Robin Coyne, supervisor, Advanced Practice Provider, CPC Provider Income & Activity
- Tricia White-Rhemtulla, department administrator, Cancer Prevention, Health Disparities Research
An unwavering commitment to early detection and prevention
Colleagues across MD Anderson praise Nelson for her vision and leadership in cancer prevention, particularly her efforts to democratize knowledge and to lower barriers of access to cost-effective skin cancer screening techniques through MD Anderson’s Melanoma Moon Shot® prevention projects. Nelson’s "keen sensibility, candid approach to problems and poise under countless obstacles … is absolutely indicative of her unwavering commitment to help cancer patients through early detection and prevention," says nominator Elizabeth Burton, director, Research Planning & Development, Melanoma.
Over the past few years, Nelson has led the development and deployment of DERM:EMD, an interactive web-based training program for dermatology resident physicians with a current reach of 21 residency programs and more than 250 residents across Texas and other states. She also developed and implemented PCP:EMD, a multi-faceted pilot program to educate primary care physicians that includes live education
and Project ECHO telementoring to support PCP-led melanoma diagnosis in regions without dermatologists.
"I want our programs to save lives and reduce the burden of melanoma treatment for my fellow Texans," Nelson said. "Hearing stories of success from dermatologists and primary care physicians who are finding melanomas at early stages, and recognizing their evolving skill, is enormously motivating."
Rogers Award rooted in family's commitment to Making Cancer History®
Regina Rogers established the Julie and Ben Rogers Award for Excellence in 1987 in honor of her parents, the late Julie and Ben Rogers.
Ben Rogers served on the MD Anderson Cancer Center Board of Visitors from 1978 until his death in 1994, though the family’s relationship with the institution dates back to 1960, when Regina’s brother, Arvey Rogers, M.D., was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. A lengthy and successful surgery performed by Edgar C. White, M.D., and R. Lee Clark, M.D., enabled him to continue to lead a normal life.
In 1987, Regina’s mother, Julie Rogers, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Through the surgical expertise of Richard Martin, M.D., and Fred Ames, M.D., she recovered and served to reinforce the family’s dedication to MD Anderson, remaining an active supporter until her death in February 1998.
Regina Rogers, who has served on the Board of Visitors since 1990, is a passionate ambassador of the institution whose decades of service have significantly advanced MD Anderson’s mission to end cancer.