Edith Peterson Mitchell, MD, FACP has been honored with the 2012 ASCO Humanitarian Award. The Award is given to an oncologist who goes beyond the call of duty to provide outstanding patient care both professionally and and as a volunteer.
Dr. Mitchell is a clinical professor in the department of Medical Oncology and a program leader of Gastrointestinal Oncology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University. At the Kimmel Cancer Center she directs the KCC Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities.
After a 1993 flood in Missouri and Mississippi, Dr. Mitchell led a team of microbiologists to test water, provide safe drinking water, and administer hepatitis vaccine. As a result of her efforts, she was named Missouri Surgeon General. She worked with Air Force volunteers to set up guidelines for care and vaccinations.
When she found many children were not receiving medical care, she set up clinics to get them vaccinations and physical exams.
She drove 6 hours every day to serve in a free health clinic in a rural, medically underserved area, returning home in another 6 hour drive. Patients were mostly immigrants or farmers with no other source of care.
About that work, Dr. Mitchell said,
Working with individuals who try to provide medical care to people who don’t have access to care has been a big part of my professional life. Volunteering for these clinics has been so important because there are so many individuals who want medical care but don’t have access to it, and they are so appreciative for what we can do for them.
Her family has become inspired by the work she does in poor communities. After the flood, her children went out and collected bottles to turn in for deposit money so they could buy toys for kids devastated by the flooding.
Dr. Mitchell explained,
Opportunities for outreach and community improvement are available for anyone interested.Her recommendation is simple: find your passion and contribute through that.
The 2012 ASCO Humanitarian Award was presented to Dr. Mitchell during the Opening Session of the ASCO Annual Meeting on Saturday, June 2, 2012.
Fight Colorectal Cancer is proud to have Dr. Mitchell as a member of our Medical Advisory Board.