Graham A. Colditz, MD, DrPH


Niess-Gain Professor of Surgery, Professor of Medicine
Chief, Division of Public Health Sciences, Department of Surgery
Associate Director, Prevention and Control, Siteman Cancer Center

Deputy Director, Institute for Public Health, Washington University in St. Louis
Member, Institute of Medicine

Dr. Colditz is an internationally recognized leader in cancer prevention. As an epidemiologist and public health expert, he has a longstanding interest in the preventable causes of chronic disease and cancer, particularly among women. His work with large population cohorts is exemplary. From 1996 to 2006, Dr. Colditz was the principle investigator of the Nurses’ Health Study, one of the largest and longest running investigations of factors that influence women’s health. He continues to pursue approaches to the translation of epidemiologic data to improve risk stratification and tailor prevention messages and screening strategies.

Dr. Colditz’s leadership has broadened the scope of prevention research, education and community outreach and markedly raised the profile of the Washington University School of Medicine’s public and population health initiatives. After 23 years at Harvard University, Dr. Colditz joined the School of Medicine faculty in 2006 to serve as the Niess-Gain Professor and associate director of Prevention and Control at the Siteman Cancer Center. In 2010, Dr. Colditz was named chair of the Division of Public Health Sciences in the Department of Surgery. He also serves as program director for the School of Medicine’s Master of Population Health Sciences degree program.

With a commitment to identifying preventable causes of chronic disease among women and adolescents, Dr. Colditz continues to study benign breast disease and other markers for risk of breast cancer. Other areas of his expertise include tobacco and obesity in relation to cancer and other chronic diseases. Dr. Colditz developed the award-winning Your Disease Risk website ( which communicates tailored prevention messages to the public. Dr. Colditz is currently the principal investigator for TREC@WUSTL, an NCI-funded transdisciplinary research center studying the associations between obesity and cancer causes, prevention and survival. He is also the principal investigator of the Siteman Cancer Center’s Program for the Elimination of Cancer Disparities (PECaD), a group that uses outreach, research and training to eliminate regional disparities in cancer education, prevention and treatment.

In November 2011, Dr. Colditz was awarded the American Cancer Society’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor, for his dedication to conducting research that focuses on the causes and prevention of chronic diseases and cancer. In October 2006, on the basis of professional achievement and his commitment to public health, he was elected to membership of the Institute of Medicine, an independent body that advises the U.S. government on many issues affecting public health.

Additionally, Dr. Colditz has filled many professional leadership roles. He was the editor-in-chief of the journal Cancer Causes and Control and has contributed to reports of the Surgeon General on Tobacco and Health. He has served on several committees for the National Academies of Science and the National Cancer Institute, among others. He has published over 850 peer-reviewed publications, six books and six reports for the Institute of Medicine, National Academies of Health.

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