American Cancer Society to Honor Breast Cancer Specialist Laura Esserman

The American Cancer Society will pay tribute to Laura Esserman, MD, MBA, an internationally known leader in the field of breast cancer care and research.

Laura Esserman, MD, MBA

Laura Esserman, MD, MBA

A surgeon and 20-year member of the faculty at UC San Francisco, Esserman is leading an effort to change the delivery of breast cancer services and the information systems used to support both research and patient care.

She will be honored on March 19 at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco. Established in 1913, the American Cancer Society is a nationwide voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer.

As a professor of surgery and radiology, Esserman co-leads the Breast Oncology Program at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

She is a member of a taskforce for President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) Working Group on Advancing Innovation in Drug Development and Evaluation, which is studying how the federal government can best support science-based innovation in the process of drug development and regulatory evaluation.

A Model for Translational Research

Esserman has worked at UCSF to develop interdisciplinary teams of clinicians and researchers to bring the best care to patients and find the best platform to integrate translational research and improve the delivery of breast cancer care.

Director of the Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center at UCSF, she is founder of the program in Translational Informatics spanning the disciplines of bioinformatics, medical and clinical informatics, systems integration, and clinical care delivery.

Laura Esserman, MD, MBA

Laura Esserman, shown here after a surgery, will be honored March 19 for her leadership in breast cancer research and patient care by the American Cancer Society. Photo by Susan Merrell

Esserman is the principle investigator of the I-SPY TRIAL program, a multi-site neoadjuvant clinical trial that has evolved into a model for translational research and innovation in clinical trial design. I-SPY combines personalized medicine with a novel investigational design to identify women at high risk of early breast cancer recurrence. It is underway at 19 major cancer centers around the country.

Esserman has recently launched a University of California-wide breast cancer initiative called the Athena Breast Health Network, a groundbreaking project designed to follow 150,000 women from screening through treatment and outcomes, incorporating the latest in molecular testing and web-based tools into the course of care.

In 1996, she started the Center of Excellence for Breast Cancer Care to integrate clinical care and research, automate tools for the capture of patient and clinical data, and develop systems to tailor care to biology, patient preference, and performance.

Esserman has published more than 150 articleswith numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals covering all aspects of breast health including information systems, immunology, decisionmaking, health policy and the use of imaging. Her writing tends to focus on the goal of giving patients better access to accurate information so that they can become partners in their health care.

Esserman received her bachelor's degree in History of Science from Harvard University and completed her MD at Stanford University. She completed her surgery residency and oncology fellowship at Stanford University Medical Center. After her training, she joined the faculty at Stanford and received a Hartford fellowship to attend Stanford Business School where she received her MBA degree in 1993. She then joined the faculty at UCSF.