Ernest T. Hawk, M.D., M.P.H.

Prioritizing Cancer Prevention

Research Area: Cancer Prevention

Portrait of Ernest T. Hawk, M.D., M.P.H.
Ernest T. Hawk, M.D., M.P.H.
Prioritizing Cancer Prevention

A medical oncologist by training, Ernest T. Hawk, M.D., M.P.H., was a Cancer Prevention Fellow at the National Cancer Institute in the early 1990s. He chose to refocus his work on cancer prevention when the reality of treating cancer patients made him want to keep people from becoming patients in the first place. And for the past 30 years, Dr. Hawk has championed cancer prevention and devoted his work to the research that makes prevention possible.

After completing his fellowship in 1993, Dr. Hawk stayed at the Division of Cancer Prevention and became involved in a wide range of preclinical and clinical chemoprevention research, including studies of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, COX-2 inhibitors, and agent combinations in high-risk cohorts. After 10 years, he moved to the NCI Office of Centers, Training and Resources, overseeing cancer centers and SPOREs funded by NCI.

In 2007, Dr. Hawk moved to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. He has said his goal is to “prioritize cancer prevention and health promotion as personal and public health priorities in Texas, the nation and the world so we can truly prevent all preventable cancers, saving the innumerable financial, emotional and physical burdens that attend a cancer diagnosis for patients and their families.”

More recently, Dr. Hawk has worked to promote health and improve outcomes for all by minimizing the many inequities in cancer screening, diagnosis and care. In addition, he works to improve the participation of minority and underserved populations in clinical research, and in the integration of risk assessment, behavioral science, and preventive strategies in clinical trials. He has earned numerous awards for his work, including the NCI Research Award for Distinguished Achievement in Cancer Prevention.

At M.D. Anderson, Dr. Hawk serves as vice president and division head for Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, as the T. Boone Pickens Distinguished Chair for Early Prevention of Cancer. He also co-leads the Cancer Prevention and Control Platform, which advances evidence-based public policy, public and professional education, and community-based service implementation and dissemination.

To learn more about Dr. Hawk, read his M.D. Anderson profile.