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The International Myeloma Foundation Mourns the Passing of IMF Board Member Dr. Edith Mitchell

STUDIO CITY, Calif., Jan. 22, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) announced with great sadness, the passing of one of the IMF’s Board Members, Clinical Professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology, Director of the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, and 116th President of the National Medical Association Edith Peterson Mitchell, MD, MACP, FCPP, FRCP (London).

A Media Snippet accompanying this announcement is available by clicking on this link.

Dr. Edith Mitchell has been a member of the IMF Board of Directors for over twenty years. She was a clinical professor at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology.

After receiving her M.D. from the Medical College of Virginia, Dr. Mitchell served first active duty, then reserve duty, as a physician with the United States Air Force for a total of nine years. She was honored with several prestigious military decorations during her time of service and was subsequently honored with the Distinguished Service Award from the Air National Guard. Since joining Jefferson Medical College in 1995, Dr. Mitchell has held numerous leadership positions, including being the Principal Investigator of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Lead Academic Participating Site (LAPS) Program—one of 32 recipients across the U.S.

Among Dr. Mitchell’s numerous professional, civic, and community accolades include the AACR’s Jane Cooke Wright, MD Lectureship Award, ASCO’s Humanitarian Award, the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Control Award, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the City of Philadelphia’s Octavius Valentine Catto Award for community service, the ‘Tree of Life’ Award recognizing health professionals committed to making a difference in community health, and the 2016 Historically Black College Alumnus of the Year. She has been inducted into the National Historical Black College Hall of Fame and as an honorary member of the American Society for Radiation Oncology. In 2023, Dr. Mitchell received the Pennsylvania Medical Society’s (PAMED) Distinguished Service Award—the highest award presented by PAMED.

Dr. Mitchell’s contributions and insights have been highly respected in the medical research community. As a member of the NCI’s Blue-Ribbon Panel, she was part of a committee that advised the National Cancer Advisory Board for the-Vice-President Joe Biden’s National Cancer Moonshot Initiative, as well as the NIH Council of Councils. She was also an appointed member of the President’s Cancer Panel from 2019-2023 and has participated in committees for the NCI, ECOG-ACRIN, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), NRG Oncology, and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

As the 116th President of the National Medical Association, Dr. Mitchell worked closely with IMF Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joseph Mikhael, who also spearheads the IMF M-Power Project—an initiative that was established to improve the short- and long-term outcomes of African American patients with multiple myeloma.

In April 2023, the IMF, in partnership with the W. Montague Cobb/NMA Health Institute’s Cobb Scholars Program, launched the IMF Medical Student Scholars for Health Equity in Myeloma mentoring program as a novel mentorship initiative for African American medical students.

Because of this mentorship program, a delegation of twelve IMF Medical Student Scholars for Health Equity in Myeloma along with their mentors were able to take part in the 2023 NMA Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly, which took place in New Orleans, LA from July 29-August 2, 2023.

“Dr. Mitchell was simply an incredible scientist, physician, advocate, leader, friend, and human being. Only a few have had the impact she has had on the medical community—especially as a result of her passion for students and trainees. It has been my privilege to work so closely with her on multiple M-Power initiatives at the IMF. We have all been blessed by Dr. Mitchell, and she will be deeply missed,” said Dr. Mikhael.

“Dr. Edith Mitchell’s passing is such a profound loss for the IMF, the IMF Board of Directors, and the myeloma community at large. She was a force of nature—a tractor driver at age 11, and a trailblazer for equity throughout her lifetime. Her brilliance, passion, and leadership at the Armed Forces, the NMA, ECOG, the IMF and beyond have inspired and empowered researchers, mentors, and future healers. We mourn her loss, but her legacy will live on—paving the way for a future free of disparities in cancer. The IMF will continue to look up to Dr. Mitchell as a role model, especially in our efforts for the M-Power Project and the IMF Medical Student Scholars in Myeloma mentoring program,” said IMF President and CEO Yelak Biru, who works alongside Dr. Mikhael on the IMF M-Power Project.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I send my sincerest sympathies and condolences to Dr. Edith Mitchell’s family members, friends, and colleagues. I am truly shocked and saddened by Dr. Mitchell’s passing. As one of the longest serving members of the IMF Board of Directors, she contributed enormously for many years. Her input and perspective will be sorely missed,” said IMF Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Brian G.M. Durie.

“Dr. Edith Mitchell was relentless in her fight for access to equitable and affordable care for patients with cancer. She used her powerful voice and influence to reduce racial and economic disparities in healthcare. We have lost a remarkable leader. It is a huge personal loss for me,” stated newly appointed IMF Chairperson of the Board Dr. S. Vincent Rajkumar.

Dr. Mitchell is known for her “legacy of service to others.” Dr. Mitchell’s research “examined ethnic, socioeconomic, and other factors affecting clinical trial participation and barriers to accrual among minorities. Her research and papers also focused on novel drug evaluation, chemo-radiation strategies, new therapeutic regimens, supportive care, and patient selection criteria for clinical trials in breast, colorectal and pancreatic cancers, and other GI malignancies,” stated Jefferson Chief Executive Office Joseph G. Cacchione, MD, FACC, in an official statement.

“In her most recent role, she oversaw a team focused on the quality and cost effectiveness of cancer care, patient-oriented outcomes, and identifying and eliminating barriers to care—especially those related to racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities, and the social determinants of health.”

“Dr. Mitchell continued to travel nationally and internationally teaching and lecturing on the treatment of gastrointestinal malignancies and cancer disparities up until her passing and was known to pick up her phone for anyone, at any time, night or day,” Dr. Cacchione further added.

“Dr. Mitchell has provided leadership for the Cobb Institute, including the establishment of the Jane Cooke Wright Cancer Symposium each year at the National Medical Association Convention and Scientific Assembly. We share in the collective grief that is felt throughout the U.S. and her contributions to the Cobb Institute will never be forgotten,” stated W. Montague Cobb/NMA Health Institute President & CEO Dr. Randall Morgan.

“Dr. Mitchell was a source of inspiration and influenced the lives and careers of so many in her community and professionally. While she was one of our esteemed past presidents and leader but is no longer with us, we are emboldened to sustain her legacy of excellence in medicine, academia, and humanitarian efforts,” stated NMA 124th President Yolanda Lawson, MD on behalf of the NMA and the Past Presidents Council.

The International Myeloma Foundation sends its deepest sympathies, thoughts, and prayers to Dr. Mitchell’s family members, friends, colleagues, and loved ones. Her legacy of service to others will live on and serve as a lifelong beacon for the IMF and the myeloma community it supports and serves.

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the bone marrow plasma cells — white blood cells that make antibodies. A cancerous or malignant plasma cell is called a myeloma cell. Myeloma is called “multiple” because there are frequently multiple patches or areas in bone where it grows. It often involves damage to bone and kidneys. Multiple myeloma is still incurable, but great progress has been made in terms of survival over the last two decades. The disease is twice as common and is diagnosed at a younger age in African Americans than white Americans. The most common presenting symptoms include fatigue and bone pain.

Partnering with cities across the U.S., the International Myeloma Foundation’s (IMF) M-Power Project aims to turn the core vision of the IMF Diversity Initiative into a reality: improving the short- and long-term outcomes of African American patients with multiple myeloma. By raising myeloma awareness and empowering healthcare professionals, community leaders, neighborhoods, and families, the M-Power Project aims to break down barriers for the African American myeloma community.

Founded in 1990, the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) is the first and largest global foundation focusing specifically on multiple myeloma. The Foundation's reach extends to more than 525,000 members in 140 countries worldwide. The IMF is dedicated to improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure by focusing on four key areas: research, education, support, and advocacy. The IMF has conducted more than 250 educational seminars worldwide, maintains a world-renowned InfoLine, and in 2001, established the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG), a collaborative research initiative focused on improving myeloma treatment options for patients. In 2012, the IMF launched the Black Swan Research Initiative®, a groundbreaking research project aimed at curing myeloma. The IMF can be reached at (800) 452-CURE (2873). The global website is

Follow the IMF on:
Twitter: @IMFmyeloma
Instagram: @imfmyeloma
Facebook: @myeloma
LinkedIn: International Myeloma Foundation

Media Contacts:

Peter Anton

Jason London

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