Newswise — New Haven, Conn. — Marcella Nunez-Smith, MD, MHS, has been appointed Director of the Center for Community Engagement and Health Equity for Yale Cancer Center (YCC) and Smilow Cancer Hospital (SCH), as well as Chief Health Equity Officer & Deputy Chief Medical Officer, at SCH, and Associate Cancer Center Director for Community Outreach and Engagement at YCC.

“Dr. Nunez-Smith’s accomplished leadership since joining the faculty at Yale in 2006, innovative ideas for expanding our positive impact in our communities, and passionate and determined values will propel our efforts to improve our understanding of and reduce health disparities relevant to cancer care,” said Charles Fuchs, MD, MPH, Director of YCC and Physician-in-Chief at SCH.

“I look forward to this opportunity to work closely with the leadership of Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital to help reach our goal for improved health equity in the care of our patients and our communities,” said Nunez-Smith. 

Nunez-Smith is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Yale School of Medicine, of Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale School of Public Health, and of Management at Yale School of Management. She is also a Core Faculty member of the National Clinician Scholars Program and a medical student academic advisor in the Office of Student Affairs at YSM.  Among numerous institutional and national awards, Nunez-Smith was honored by the Society of General Internal Medicine with the prestigious Herbert W. Nickens Minority Health and Representation in Medicine Career Award in 2017.

In her new role, Nunez-Smith will unify the accomplished work in community engagement and health equity across YCC, SCH, Yale School of Medicine and Yale School of Public Health by developing an umbrella infrastructure, The Bridge Center. The Bridge Center will guide and support partnerships within and beyond the University to reach and sustain our goals for health equity. In addition, the newly defined Center will oversee several approaches to community-engaged research, community outreach, education, policy & advocacy, and access to clinical care, including Community Engagement; Cancer Screening; and Clinical Research. 

Clinically, Nunez-Smith will partner with the Cancer Outcomes, Public Policy, and Effectiveness Research (COPPER) Center to create a Health Equity Dashboard to track patient care at SCH. A successful Principal Investigator on several NIH-funded awards, Nunez-Smith is also a member of the NIH Health Disparities and Equity Promotion study section and will bring her commitment to advancing and disseminating community engaged scholarship to clinical planning at SCH. Expanded education and training, as well as analytic and informatic components will be imbedded in all community engagement and health equity initiatives, and a strategic planning process will soon begin to determine priorities in the coming years.

About Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital Yale Cancer Center (YCC) is one of only 51 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the nation and the only such center in Connecticut. Cancer treatment for patients is available at Smilow Cancer Hospital through 13 multidisciplinary teams and at 15 Smilow Cancer Hospital Care Centers in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Comprehensive cancer centers play a vital role in the advancement of the NCI’s goal of reducing morbidity and mortality from cancer through scientific research, cancer prevention, and innovative cancer treatment.


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