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Peter Greenwald, MD, DrPH

Associate Director for Cancer Prevention
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
National Cancer Institute
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland
Member, BCRF Scientific Advisory Board


Peter Greenwald is the Associate Director for Cancer Prevention at the National Cancer Institute, NIH and an Assistant Surgeon General in the U.S. Public Health Service. The Division of Cancer Prevention, which he established, covers a broad spectrum from basic research through clinical and public health research, pursuing a significant reduction in cancer incidence, morbidity and mortality. Research areas include basic and pre-clinical chemoprevention studies through first-in-human to phase III clinical trials, biomarker discovery and validation, basic nutritional science, biometry and systems approaches to cancer prevention.

Dr. Greenwald received his medical degree from the State University of New York College of Medicine in Syracuse, and his Master degree and Doctorate in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health. He is Board-certified in both Internal Medicine and Preventive Medicine.

Dr. Greenwald began his career in the USPHS Commissioned Corps as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer at the Centers for Disease Control assigned to the Ohio Department of Health. His best known EIS investigation was of an insulation worker who died of anthrax; he also worked on a vanguard study for the smallpox eradication program and tracked down vaccine-associated polio. Then he did a medical residency at Boston City Hospital, earned a doctoral degree in cancer epidemiology from Harvard, and was assistant in medicine at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital. After serving as director of epidemiology at the New York State Department of Health - with associated appointments at Albany Medical College and as Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - he joined the NCI in 1981 as a commissioned officer.

At the NCI, he provided leadership against the use of tobacco, starting the American Stop Smoking Intervention Study (ASSIST), and nutrition education with the 5 A Day program in partnership with industry and the private sector. Dr. Greenwald started a community clinical oncology network which conducted the first clinical trials in cancer prevention. Among these were the Breast Cancer Prevention Trial which showed that the occurrence rate of breast cancer in high risk women could be cut in half, and the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial which reported a 25% reduction in prostate cancer from daily use of the drug finasteride. His current work relates primarily to human cancer prevention trials, nutritional science, biomarker research, training, and cancer control. Dr. Greenwald is the author of about 300 scientific papers.