Lisa Newman, MD, MPH
New York, New York
Chief, Division of Breast Surgery
Director, Interdisciplinary Breast Program
Weill Cornell Medicine
New York, New York
Addressing racial and ethnic disparities in breast cancer while also providing a platform for to increase African American physicians’ engagement in research.
African American women are underrepresented in breast cancer research, and African Americans are underrepresented in the oncology clinical as well as in the research workforce. African American physicians are more likely to provide health care to African American patients. In addition, breast cancer mortality rates are 40 percent higher in African American compared to White American women. This disparity is at least partly explained by a twofold higher rate of biologically aggressive breast tumors known as triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). TNBC also accounts disproportionately for breast cancer associated with hereditary susceptibility. Unfortunately, however, little is known regarding the causes of TNBC and treatment options for patients with TNBC are limited. Dr. Newman aims to uncover the genetic and genomic factors contributing to breast cancer disparities, as well as increase the number of African American physicians performing research.
Dr. Newman is conducting a pilot study that will address breast cancer disparities related to race and ethnicity while also providing a platform for African American physicians to increase their engagement in research. Dr. Newman aims to create a network of African American breast surgeons to work collaboratively for biobanking specimens and clinical data suitable for genetic studies, tumor analyses, and assessment of social determinants of health. This biobank will be incorporated into ongoing genomic and genetic research conducted through the International Center for the Study of Breast Cancer Subtypes (ICSBCS), a global program headquartered at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, and that has a major focus on evaluating the breast cancer burden of women with African ancestry in the United States compared to those residing on the continent of Africa.
Dr. Newman is a surgical oncologist with a practice dedicated to breast cancer management. In August 2018, she was appointed to oversee the breast program for the Weill Cornell Medicine-New York Presbyterian Hospital Network, serving its Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn sites. Previously, she worked at the Henry Ford Health System, where she served as breast program director, covering multiple hospitals throughout Michigan since 2015. She is also the Founding Medical Director for the International Center for the Study of Breast Cancer Subtypes, currently headquartered at Weill Cornell Medicine.
Dr. Newman was a professor of surgery and Director of the Breast Care Center for the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she also served as Program Director for the Breast Fellowship from 2002 to 2015. Dr. Newman holds a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University, and she also obtained her undergraduate education at Harvard. She attended medical school and completed her general surgery residency training at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. Dr. Newman remained at Downstate following completion of her postgraduate training and served as an assistant professor of surgery with this program for several years. She pursued fellowship training in surgical oncology at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center 1997-99, followed by joining the faculty as an Assistant Professor; she continues to hold an adjunct professorship with M.D. Anderson.
Dr. Newman’s primary research has focused on race/ethnicity-related variation in breast cancer risk and outcome, the evaluation and management of high-risk patients; broadened applications for neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and special surgical techniques such as the skin-sparing mastectomy and lymphatic mapping/sentinel lymph node biopsy. Her extensive research related to disparities in breast cancer risk and outcome has been published in numerous peer-reviewed medical journals and was featured in CNN’s documentary Black in America 2. She has also been the featured breast cancer medical expert for NBC’s Today Show (2014; 2017; 2019) as well on CBS Nightly News (2015). She maintains a very active community service record, and currently serves as Chief National Medical Advisor for the Sisters Network, Inc., a national African American breast cancer survivors support organization.
She oversees an international breast cancer research and training program involving a network of physicians and facilities in Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Mexico, and the Caribbean. This program has focused on the study of triple-negative breast cancer in women with African ancestry. Her work has been acknowledged with several awards, such as “Top Blacks in Health Care 2018”; Phenomenal African American Women of 2018”; “Esteemed Women of Michigan 2018”; Crain’s “Health Care Hero” in 2017; 2012 Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation Hero Award; and the 2010 National Medical Association Woman in Medicine Award.
Dr. Newman has been appointed to multiple national and regional leadership positions, including the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer in Young Women; the NIH’s Clinical Trials Advisory Committee, and the Advisory Council to the National Institute of Minority Health and Disparities.
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