September 09, 2015
Former four-star admiral tapped as moon shots leader
BY Clayton Boldt
MD Anderson has appointed former U.S. Public Health Service four-star Admiral Joxel Garcia, M.D. as the inaugural executive director of the cancer prevention and control platform, part of MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program.
“I’m honored to join the No. 1 cancer center in the nation,” said Garcia. “It’s truly exciting to join the MD Anderson family and work with world-class leaders, researchers and clinicians.”
The Moon Shots Program is an effort to dramatically accelerate the pace of converting scientific discoveries into clinical and population-oriented advances that significantly reduce cancer deaths. The cancer prevention and control platform implements and disseminates evidence-based, community-focused programs to advance cancer prevention, screening, early detection and survivorship.
“Dr. Garcia is an internationally recognized health care leader with proven experience and success in a variety of health care settings,” said Giulio Draetta, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Genomic Medicine and Molecular & Cellular Oncology and co-leader of the Moon Shots Program. “We’re excited to have someone of his caliber on board and know he will contribute a great deal to the platform and the program overall.”
The platform focuses on providing policy, education and services to achieve a measurable and sustainable reduction in the cancer burden, especially in the underserved population, for whom cancer and cancer risk factors pose a particular threat. This effort is taking what’s known about diet, exercise, sun protection, tobacco avoidance and human papillomavirus (HPV) beyond MD Anderson to reach people throughout Texas, the nation and the world.
Garcia began his medical career as an obstetrician/gynecologist and then became the commissioner for the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health. After serving as the deputy director for the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization in Washington, D.C., he moved into the corporate sector. There he worked as a senior vice president and senior medical officer at Maximus Federal Services Inc.
President George W. Bush appointed Garcia as the 13th U.S. assistant secretary for health. At the same time, he was appointed as a four-star Admiral for the United States Public Health Service and as the U.S. Representative to the World Health Organization. During this time, and as the highest ranking medical and public health official in the U.S., Garcia led more than 6,220 U.S. Public Service Commissioned Corps officers in the U.S. and in 88 countries for the protection, promotion and advancement of health.
To read more about Garcia, visit MD Anderson’s website.