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BCRF Grantee Since


Donor Recognition

The ANN INC. Award

Area(s) of Focus

Dawn Hershman, MD, MS

Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology
Division of Medical Oncology
Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
New York, New York

Current Research

The quality of cancer care is a major national concern. Not all patients receive the most advanced treatments, while others receive costly treatments that may not help. The goal of Dr. Hershman’ s patient-oriented, interventional studies is to integrate findings from population-based research to improve the quality of cancer care, reduce overuse of expensive drugs and improve quality of life for breast cancer survivors. She will embark on three studies this year that aim to: 1) Evaluate the influence of health insurance, hospital factors, and physician workload on whether women with breast cancer receive sentinel lymph node biopsy, an advanced, minimally invasive surgery that helps to determine whether the cancer has spread; 2) Evaluate whether a patient’s insurance co-payment amount determines whether she/he receives drugs that control chemotherapy-induced vomiting; 3) Identify biomarkers--molecules found in blood or tissue--associated with nerve damage and pain that often result from chemotherapy. Collectively, Dr. Hershman’s studies in the delivery of cancer care will help us to identify disparities that exist and find ways to improve cancer care for all.


Dr. Hershman is an Associate Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology with Tenure and is Leader of the Breast Cancer Program of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center. She completed her medical degree at The Albert Einstein College of Medicine where she was Alpha Omega Alpha, and completed her internal medicine and oncology fellowship training at Columbia University Medical Center, where she served as Chief Resident. During that time she completed a Masters degree in Biostatistics at the Mailman School of Public Health.

She was appointed a faculty position at Columbia University in 2001 and since that time has developed an expertise in the areas of breast cancer treatment, prevention, survivorship, late-effects of cancer therapy, health outcomes and health disparities research. She has published over 175 scientific articles and has received numerous awards including the Ewig Award for Teaching Excellence, the AVON Foundation Medical Advancement Award and the American Society of Clinical Oncology Advanced Clinical Research Award. She has national leadership positions in the Southwest Oncology Group, where she serves as co-chair of the Cancer Care Delivery Committee and Co-PI of the NCORP Research Base. She has served as primary mentor for numerous medical students, graduate students, fellows and junior faculty.

She has received grant funding from the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, Department of Defense, Susan Komen Foundation, Lance Armstrong Foundation, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, PCORI, the Irving Center for Clinical Research and the Avon Foundation for Women.