MD Anderson’s Ernest Hawk wins ASCO-American Cancer Society Award

MD Anderson News Release 06/01/2015

Ernest T. Hawk, M.D., vice president and head of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is being honored for his efforts in cancer prevention and control with the 2015 American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO)-American Cancer Society Award. Hawk will be presented with the distinction at a lecture on June 1 at the 2015 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago. 

Hawk holds the Boone Pickens Distinguished Chair for Early Prevention of Cancer and serves as executive director of the Duncan Family Institute for Cancer Prevention and Risk Assessment. He also co-leads the cancer prevention and control platform for MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program.

Through these efforts, Hawk has committed himself to advancing the field of cancer prevention and control through prevention research, evidence-based public policy, public and professional education, and community-based services implementation and dissemination. Initiatives such as EndTobacco™ and Healthy Communities aim to substantially reduce the burden of tobacco use and foster community partnerships to promote the adoption of healthy lifestyles, respectively.

Hawk has served as a resource for state lawmakers to aid in educating the legislature about the significance of laws restricting the sales of e-cigarettes to minors. He also shared information about reducing the impact of tobacco-related diseases through local and state smoke-free policies.

The ASCO Special Awards recognize the dedication and significant contributions of researchers, patient advocates and leaders of the global oncology community to enhancing cancer prevention, treatment and patient care. The ASCO-American Cancer Society Award, awarded annually since 1993, honors the achievements of individuals who have made noteworthy contributions to the prevention and management of cancer.

“I am immensely honored and humbled to receive the ASCO-American Cancer Society award,” says Hawk. “The highlights of my career in cancer prevention have been the many incredible mentors, friends, students and teams from diverse disciplines, experiences and backgrounds that I’ve been privileged to work with along the way.

“This award is accepted in recognition of the progress forged by those teams, and of all the patients, families and study participants who made it possible. The future of our field is exciting and exceptionally bright because of these people and their enduring commitment to advancing the best ideas in cancer prevention through scientific discovery, purpose-driven translation and trans-disciplinary collaboration,” Hawk continues.

During his career, Hawk has been involved in a wide range of preclinical and clinical chemoprevention research, including developmental studies of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, COX-2 inhibitors and preventive agent combinations in high-risk cohorts. Recently, his interests have broadened to include improvement of minority and underserved populations’ participation in clinical research and the integration of risk assessment, behavioral science and preventive strategies developed through sequential clinical trials for application in clinical or public health settings.

A native of Detroit, MI, Hawk earned his bachelor’s and medical degrees at Wayne State University and master of public health degree at Johns Hopkins University. Hawk completed an internal medicine internship and residency at Emory University, a medical oncology clinical fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco and a cancer prevention fellowship at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Prior to his appointment at MD Anderson in December 2007, Hawk held several positions at the NCI in Bethesda, MD. He most recently served as director of the Office of Centers, Training and Resources, responsible for the NCI’s cancer centers program, a major translational science program (i.e., the SPORE program), the NCI’s extramural training enterprise, and its extramural disparities portfolio. His prior NCI posts included Chief and medical officer in the Gastrointestinal and Other Cancers Research Group, medical officer in the Chemoprevention Branch and chair of the Translational Research Working Group.

Hawk has published more than 175 scientific articles and book chapters, edited three books, serves as senior deputy editor for Cancer Prevention Research and serves on the editorial board of Cancer Medicine.

Hawk has earned numerous awards for his work, including the NCI Research Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cancer Prevention and the Distinguished Alumnus Award.