Roswell Park’s Dr. Kunle Odunsi Elected to the National Academy of Medicine

Internationally accomplished cancer expert joins prestigious academy that informs health policy
Monday, October 15, 2018
Highlights: 
Election to National Academy is one of the highest honors in medical field
Dr. Odunsi is first physician in Roswell Park’s history to be named a member
Organization provides authoritative guidance on global health issues

WASHINGTON, D.C. and BUFFALO, N.Y. — Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD, Deputy Director of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine — a distinguished lifetime designation that is considered one of the highest honors in health and medicine. The election of new members recognized for their outstanding professional achievements and commitment to service was announced today at the Academy’s annual meeting, “Cancers: Can We Beat The Odds,” held in Washington, D.C.

“We are so very proud of Kunle, and honored to work alongside him,” says Candace S. Johnson, PhD, President and CEO of Roswell Park. “He has earned this incredible distinction through his unwavering dedication to cancer patients and his many achievements in moving cancer research forward.”

The Academy, formerly the Institute of Medicine, is an independent body that aims to improve health for all by advancing science, accelerating health equity, and providing independent, authoritative, and trusted advice nationally and globally. “To carry out our work,” the organization notes, “we harness the talents and expertise of accomplished, thoughtful volunteers and undertake meticulous processes to avoid and balance bias. Our foundational goal is to be the most reliable source for credible scientific and policy advice on matters concerning human health.”

Members are elected by their peers based on their contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health. Dr. Odunsi is the first Roswell Park physician in the center’s 120-year history to be elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), and one of only three living NAM members in Western New York. In announcing his appointment, the Academy recognized Dr. Odunsi “for identifying key mechanisms of immune suppression within the ovarian tumor microenvironment, pioneering studies to re-engineer mature T cells and hematopoietic stem cells for adoptive T-cell therapy, and implementing multi-institutional immunotherapy trials using novel strategies that he developed, to impact outcome and quality of life of ovarian cancer patients.”

“This wouldn’t have been possible without the supportive, transdisciplinary and collaborative environment at Roswell Park,” says Dr. Odunsi, who also serves as Chair of Gynecologic Oncology, M. Steven Piver Professor of Gynecologic Oncology, and Executive Director of the Center for Immunotherapy at the Buffalo-based cancer center. “I am humbled by this honor and so grateful to my extraordinary teams from the gynecologic oncology clinical program and the Center for Immunotherapy, with whom I work every day. And I owe an enormous debt to the patients I have been privileged to work with, and from whom I have learned so much.”

On staff at Roswell Park since 2001, Dr. Odunsi followed a medical degree from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife, Nigeria with postgraduate training in obstetrics and gynecology at the Rosie Maternity and Addenbrookes Hospitals, University of Cambridge, UK; a research fellowship and doctoral studies in molecular oncology at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK; residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine; and a clinical fellowship in gynecologic oncology at Roswell Park. He is a Fellow of both the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, in the UK, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Dr. Odunsi was among the authors of a NAM study published in 2016: “Ovarian Cancers: Evolving Paradigms in Research and Care.” He also spoke about immunotherapy for ovarian cancer at the NAM Annual Meeting in Washington.

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Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is a community united by the drive to eliminate cancer’s grip on humanity by unlocking its secrets through personalized approaches and unleashing the healing power of hope. Founded by Dr. Roswell Park in 1898, it is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in Upstate New York. Learn more at www.roswellpark.org, or contact us at 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or ASKRoswell@roswellpark.org.

 

Media Contact: 

Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager
716-845-8593; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org