Cancer Center Appoints New Associate Director for Office of Community Outreach and Engagement

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Primo “Lucky” Lara, Jr. has appointed Laura Fejermanto serve as associate director of the cancer center’s Office of Community Outreach and Engagement(COE), effective July 1, 2023.

Fejerman transitions into the role held by Moon Chen, a pioneer in cultivating cancer health equity, who helped launch the COE in 2018. Chen has a long history of leading National Cancer Institute programs focused on mitigating cancer health disparities in various racial/ethnic populations.

“Fejerman will do an outstanding job in her new role as she leverages her background in public health epidemiology,” said Chen. “She will bring passion and commitment to the diverse population we serve and the individuals who are often underserved due to cultural barriers and unique cancer risk factors.”

Fejerman plans to focus on health equity in the diverse populations UC Davis Health serves. Meanwhile, Chen will assume a new position as the senior adviser to the cancer center director, with a focus on community outreach and engagement as well as population sciences. He will also lead the cancer center’s innovative cancer screening initiatives with particular emphasis on the inclusion of racial and ethnic minorities and other under-enrolled asymptomatic populations. Chen will also continue addressing health disparities that disproportionately affect Asian Americans.

Through community-engaged research, shared decision-making and mutual learning, the COE works with diverse stakeholders to address the cancer burden within diverse populations throughout inland Northern California.

“Thanks to Dr. Chen’s leadership, the Office of COE has made tremendous progress creating a future free of disparities in cancer outcomes for all and we appreciate the transition he will oversee in the coming months,” said Lara. “Dr. Fejerman brings cutting edge research into genetic factors contributing to cancer, especially in the Latino population, and we know she will continue to build on the successes established by Dr. Chen.”

Lara charged Fejerman with expanding bidirectional conversations with the community to allow scientists an opportunity to receive feedback about their cancer research from diverse stakeholders.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to work toward achieving health equity and improving patient access through the very large and diverse population we serve,” said Fejerman. “I have learned a great deal from Dr. Chen and look forward to capitalizing on the trailblazing progress he has made to date, leading a team devoted to cultivating equity in cancer prevention and control.”

Fejerman joined UC Davis Health in 2020, after expanding her skills as a breast cancer genetic epidemiologist and postdoctoral fellow at UCSF. She earned her doctorate in biological anthropology and master’s in human biology at the University of Oxford, England. She completed her undergraduate degree in social anthropology at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Originally from Buenos Aires, Fejerman left Argentina in 1998 to study in England and arrived in the United States in 2003.

SOURCE: UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

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