Chyke Doubeni, MD, MPH, associate professor of family medicine & community health, was recognized this week by President Barack Obama as one of the country’s rising scientific stars with a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.
The Presidential Award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers in the early phases of their independent research careers. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education or community outreach. Granted to a select group each year, the awards are intended to recognize and nurture some of the finest scientists and engineers who, while early in their research careers, show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge.
“I am truly honored and feel so fortunate to have been chosen for this award,” Dr. Doubeni said. “It certainly means a lot to have our work recognized at the national level. It shows that the government and the National Institutes of Health are supporting the work of my lab as well as UMass Medical School as a whole.”
Doubeni joined the UMMS faculty in 2004. His research focuses on identifying and reducing disparities in health care. He has received continuous funding from the National Cancer Institute to pursue research activities on disparities in mortality from colorectal cancer and on evaluating the comparative effectiveness of colorectal screening tests. He works extensively with investigators in the Cancer Research Network through the Meyers Primary Care Institute. He also previously served as interim associate vice provost for diversity at UMMS.
Doubeni completed his residency training in family practice at Duke University before becoming a family physician at a community health center in North Carolina. There, he served as medical director and worked to provide comprehensive primary care to the underserved populations, earning the 2001 Community Service Award in Health and Medicine from the Beta Beta Beta Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity at Wilson, N.C.
With the funding support associated with the Presidential Award, Doubeni will examine the effectiveness of screening colonoscopy in reducing death among average-risk adults. Doubeni also recently received an award from the National Cancer Institute in which he will collaborate with investigators at Kaiser Permanente Northern and Southern California, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Erasmus University to optimize the process of screening for colorectal cancer.
“Dr. Doubeni is passionate about his work reducing inequities in access and quality of care and we are fortunate and very proud to have him as a member of our academic community,” said Terence R. Flotte, MD, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor of Medicine, executive deputy chancellor, provost, dean of the School of Medicine and professor of pediatrics.
Doubeni is the third UMass Medical School Presidential Award recipient. In 2005, Neal S. Silverman, PhD, associate professor of medicine and microbiology & physiological systems, was recognized with the award for his research into the mechanisms controlling innate immunity. In 2006, JeanMarie Houghton, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine and cancer biology, won the award for her work examining the role of stem cells in cancer.
Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers