October 26, 2023

Debra Friedman named deputy director of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

Internationally recognized cancer survivorship expert Debra Friedman, MD, MS, has been named deputy director of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center

Debra Friedman, MD, MS

Debra Friedman, MD, MS, holder of the E. Bronson Ingram Chair in Pediatric Oncology, has been named deputy director of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC). Friedman serves as associate director for Community Science and Health Outcomes for Vanderbilt-Ingram and served as a Research Program Leader for Vanderbilt-Ingram from 2008-2023.

Friedman is an internationally recognized expert in cancer survivorship and is the director of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. She has authored over 200 manuscripts, been a mentor for 29 early-career cancer researchers, and has received funding for 60 current and past research programs. Her research has contributed to an understanding of psychosocial, functional and physiologic long-term outcomes for childhood and adult cancer survivors, with contributions to surveillance guidelines and interventions to ameliorate adverse outcomes.

“Dr. Friedman’s vast and diverse experience as a physician, researcher, educator and leader — along with her 15 years at Vanderbilt-Ingram as a constant champion for key initiatives across the cancer continuum— make her the perfect choice to serve as deputy director,” said Ben Ho Park, MD, PhD, the Benjamin F Byrd Jr. Professor of Oncology and director of VICC. “She has proven to be someone who can listen attentively and then give guidance, manifest ideas into actions, and inspire colleagues to do their best work. I’m grateful to have her by my side as we and all the Cancer Center senior leadership pursue ambitious goals — goals that I am confident we will accomplish.”

In addition to her research portfolio and leadership, Friedman has a deep commitment to mentoring and training future generations of cancer physicians and scientists. She currently leads National Cancer Institute T32 and K12 training grants and has been instrumental in the growth of early education pipeline programs for Vanderbilt-Ingram, including the Vanderbilt Education Research and Training in Cancer Program (VERTICAL), an American Cancer Society-funded Diversity in Cancer Research Post-Baccalaureate Fellows Program.

Prior to being recruited to Vanderbilt, Friedman was an associate professor of Pediatrics at University of Washington and director of cancer survivorship programs at both Seattle Children’s Hospital and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. Previously, she worked in the Division of Oncology at Children’s Hospital at Philadelphia, where she was co-director of the Cancer Survivorship Program.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as deputy director,” Friedman said. “I am proud of what we have accomplished in the time that I have been at Vanderbilt, and I know that we can achieve a great deal more. We’ve made significant progress in cancer care, treatment, and prevention in recent years. Our challenge is to make sure that more people benefit from that progress as we continue to make advancements. I’m exceptionally grateful to Dr. Park for having been offered the opportunity to work with him to meet these challenges.”

She will continue to serve as director of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Monroe Carell, where she develops and leads clinical trials in Hodgkin lymphoma, retinoblastoma, and survivorship.