Dr. David J. Lee Appointed to NIH Advisory Council, Selected to Lead Florida Cancer Registry

David J. Lee, Ph.D., professor of public health sciences, has been appointed to the NIH National Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Advisory Council for a four-year term.

“Attending my first council meeting was an eye opening experience, given the breadth and public health importance of the portfolio of research funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders,” Lee said.

As a member of the council, Lee will advise the secretary of health and human services and director of the NIH and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders on the conduct and support of research and research training, health information dissemination and other programs for hearing disorders and other communication processes.

“Appointment to the National Advisory Council of an NIH Institute is a huge honor,” said José Szapocznik, Ph.D., professor and Chair of Public Health Sciences and Director of the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute. “Dr. Lee’s expertise in mining large national archival data sets is invaluable at a time when the NIH is searching for approaches to use the immense volume of data that has accumulated and continues to accumulate on a daily basis. The scientific leadership of our nation is asking whether we should continue to pay for collecting new data for new research questions, when existing data could be used to answer old and new research questions.”

In addition to his NIH appointment, Lee will serve as principal investigator and project director of the Florida Cancer Data System, the statewide population-based cancer surveillance system. Lee succeeds Jill MacKinnon, Ph.D., who is retiring after 39 years.

A joint project between the Florida Department of Health and the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Florida Cancer Data System is one of the premier cancer surveillance systems in the nation. The registry has been collecting incidence data since 1981, making it one of the oldest sponsored programs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. In 1994, the system became part of the National Program of Cancer Registries administered by the Centers for Disease Control.

“Thanks to the visionary leadership of Dr. Jill MacKinnon, who launched the Florida cancer registry in 1981, the FCDS is considered to be one of the premiere leaders in the science of cancer registry management in the United States,” Lee said. “Moving forward there are many opportunities to enhance the value of these data by continuing to pursue innovative links with other healthcare data sources, such as electronic medical records and advances in genetic testing, to monitor trends in improved patient outcomes.”

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