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ASCO Remembers Cancer Prevention and Health Equity Champion Dr. Worta J. McCaskill-Stevens

Nov 17, 2023

ASCO and the oncology community are deeply saddened by the death of Worta J. McCaskill-Stevens, MD, MS, on November 15, 2023 

Prior to her passing, Dr. McCaskill-Stevens, a medical oncologist, served as chief of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Community Oncology and Prevention Trials Research Group and director of the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), where she was instrumental in making cancer clinical trials accessible to patients in the communities where they live, enabling patients from underserved populations to benefit from and contribute to cancer research.  

Dr. McCaskill-Stevens enrolled in medical school at age 30; she earned her medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1985 and undertook an internal medicine residency at the same institution. She completed her medical oncology fellowship at the Mayo Clinic. She worked at Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center as co-director of the Breast Care and Research Center before joining NCI in 1998 as program director for the STAR (Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene) trial, a large-scale clinical study evaluating the effectiveness of raloxifene compared to tamoxifen in reducing breast cancer incidence in high-risk postmenopausal women.  

Dr. McCaskill-Stevens served as a member of the ASCO-ACCC Collaboration to Increase Participation of Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations in Cancer Clinical Trials, the Conquer Cancer Council, the Journal of Clinical Oncology editorial board, and as faculty at the ASCO Quality Care Symposium.  

In August 2023, the NCI announced the establishment of the NCI Worta McCaskill-Stevens Career Development Award for Community Oncology and Prevention Research to honor her career-long dedication to cancer prevention and health equity. According to the NCI, the award will place a special emphasis on the “training of clinical scientists whose career goal is to meet the needs of underserved or underrepresented communities for access to clinical care and participation in clinical research.” 

Dr. McCaskill-Stevens was the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the 2020 ACCC David King Community Clinical Scientist Award from the Association of Community Cancer Centers and the 2016 Jane Cooke Wright Memorial Lectureship from the American Association for Cancer Research, among many others.  

Read more about Dr. McCaskill-Stevens’ life and work in a profile from Georgetown University.  

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