Chemoradiation researcher, retired brigadier general earns 2017 ASTRO honorary membership

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Edith Peterson Mitchell, MD Photo credit: Edith Peterson Mitchell, MD/American Society for Radiation Oncology

Edith Peterson Mitchell, MD, a leading researcher, medical oncologist and proponent of combined modality treatment, has been chosen as the 2017 American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Honorary Member. Dr. Mitchell will receive this award, which is the highest honor ASTRO awards to distinguished cancer researchers and leaders in disciplines outside of radiation oncology, radiobiology or radiation physics, at ASTRO’s 59th Annual Meeting in San Diego on Tuesday, September 26, 2017.

“Dr. Edith Mitchell has been a longtime proponent of combined modality treatment—using chemotherapy and radiation therapy together in order to provide cancer patients with the best possible outcomes,” says ASTRO Chair David C. Beyer, MD, FASTRO. “Our specialty is privileged to have a champion such as Dr. Mitchell, who is a widely respected clinician as well as decorated military veteran. Her service to both our country and our field is laudable.”

Dr. Mitchell is board certified in internal medicine and medical oncology and serves as a clinical professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. She also serves as the associate director for diversity programs and director of the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities for the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson. Additionally, Dr. Mitchell served as the 116th president of the National Medical Association.

Her work on chemoradiation for gastrointestinal cancers has helped raise the profile of radiation oncology by providing clinical evidence for the merits of combined modality treatment. Through the NRG Oncology/Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), she has provided medical oncology leadership for prospective chemoradiation trials defining standards of care for gastrointestinal malignancies. As a result, Dr. Mitchell has authored several peer-reviewed publications on the RTOG trials 0012 and 0247.

“The RTOG trials helped break new ground for radiation oncology,” says ASTRO Immediate Past Chair Bruce D. Minsky, MD, FASTRO, who nominated Dr. Mitchell for this award. “Edith is a strong advocate and friend of radiation oncology. I can think of no other medical oncologist who has made more significant positive contributions to our community.”

She has also had leadership positions in trials examining breast, colon and pancreatic cancers involving new drug evaluation and chemotherapy, development of new therapeutic regimens, patient selection criteria and supportive care for patients with gastrointestinal cancer.

Dr. Mitchell graduated from Tennessee State University in Nashville with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry. She went on to the Medical College of Virginia, in Richmond, and completed her internship and residency at Meharry Medical College followed by a fellowship in medical oncology at Georgetown University.

Dr. Mitchell received a commission through the Health Professions Scholarship Program in 1973 to join the Air Force while in medical school. She entered active duty after completing her fellowship at Georgetown. Dr. Mitchell is now a retired brigadier general, the first female physician to attain this rank in the history of the U.S. Air Force. Over her military career, she has been awarded more than 15 service medals and ribbons, including the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal and Humanitarian Service Medal, among others.

In her medical career, Dr. Mitchell has authored or co-authored more than 130 articles, book chapters and abstracts on cancer treatment, prevention and cancer control. She has served on several National Cancer Institute review panels, including the Clinical Trials and Translational Research Advisory Committee and the Blue Ribbon Panel convened to advise the National Cancer Advisory Board on former Vice President Biden's National Cancer Moonshot Initiative. She was awarded the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Control Award for her significant commitment to research, education and diversity.

Dr. Mitchell says she is honored to receive the 2017 ASTRO Honorary Membership and looks forward to further research on combined modality therapeutic interventions.

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Chemoradiation researcher, retired brigadier general earns 2017 ASTRO honorary membership.  Appl Rad Oncol. 

By News Release| July 28, 2017
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