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Health Equity Expert Appointed Deputy Director at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

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PITTSBURGH – Monica L. Baskin, Ph.D., nationally recognized for her work in health equity, has been appointed deputy director of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center where she will expand her efforts aimed at reducing health disparities, advancing the science of community outreach and engagement, and promoting representation in the workforce and clinical trials.

Baskin, professor in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Division of Hematology/Oncology, also serves as assistant vice chancellor for community health equity at University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences. She joined UPMC Hillman and Pitt in 2022.

In announcing the appointment, UPMC Hillman director, Robert Ferris, M.D., Ph.D., said Baskin will continue to play a critical role in the overall strategic direction and mission of the cancer center ‘to end cancer as we know it.’

Baskin_Monica_PhD_HR“Dr. Baskin’s significant research in population science, strategic planning and understanding and advancing health equity will lead our cancer center to further improve cancer prevention, early detection and treatment programs for our patients and our broader catchment area,” said Ferris. “Her knowledge will also contribute immensely to our leadership team as she brings a unique perspective as a behavioral scientist that is complementary to the current leadership expertise in basic and translational research and clinical care.”

“I am honored to begin this new senior leadership role and work with current and future cancer scientists, clinicians and staff to realize a shared vision where everyone has access to high quality cancer prevention, early detection and care,” said Baskin.

In her new deputy director role, Baskin joins current deputy director Jeremy Rich, M.D., as they collaborate to promote and invest in strategic new projects at UPMC Hillman to improve cancer center recruitment, shared resources and pilot programs.

Baskin will establish and maintain a culture of engagement, development and equity that supports members of the cancer center and diverse stakeholders throughout the region and oversees the population science research programs. Rich, a physician-scientist who is also a professor of neurology at Pitt’s School of Medicine, will oversee the basic science and translational research programs at UPMC Hillman. Both will be involved in all aspects of operations and may function as senior leader in the director’s absence.

“Dr. Baskin has built an exceptional reputation in population health sciences and health equity in her more than 20-year career,” said Anantha Shekhar, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice chancellor for Pitt Health Sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of Pitt’s School of Medicine. “I am confident she will bring a new level of expertise to UPMC Hillman and Pitt Health Sciences as we work together to close the gap on cancer-related health disparities.”

Prior to joining UPMC and Pitt, Baskin served at the University of Alabama at Birmingham as the inaugural vice chair for culture and diversity in the Department of Medicine and the inaugural associate director for community outreach and engagement for the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center. She has served on the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Accelerating Rural Cancer Control External Advisory Board, multiple external advisory committees for NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers and is the current chair of the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Continuous Update Project Global Expert Committee on Cancer Incidence. Baskin is a fellow and past president of the Society or Behavioral Medicine and fellow of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research. She is also a member of the first cohort of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leaders Program, and an authorized facilitator for nationally known training programs on unconscious bias.

Baskin earned her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and sociology from Emory University and Master of Science in community counseling and Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Georgia State University; she is also a licensed psychologist.

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CAPTION: Monica L. Baskin, Ph.D.