Chanita Hughes-HalbertNobel Conference 56

Chanita Hughes-Halbert

Chanita Hughes-Halbert is Associate Dean for Assessment and Evaluation and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina.

The experiences of cancer patients are as varied as the people who carry the weight of their diagnosis. Even their diseases are not the same as each other; “cancer” is not one disease, but hundreds. Once they are diagnosed, patients’ ability to take advantage of the latest advances in cancer treatment are profoundly shaped by factors such as income, race and geographic location. 

Growing up in Greensboro, North Carolina, Chanita Hughes-Halbert lost her mother to breast cancer. She shaped her academic career around addressing health disparities in cancer risk and treatment, and around improving the health outcomes of medically underserved populations.

A psychologist and medical researcher, Dr. Hughes-Halbert’s research addresses inequity. She explores how psychological and social factors influence cancer risk and outcomes, with a particular focus on racial and ethnic minority groups. Dr. Hughes-Halbert has examined the efficacy of interventions to increase the participation of African American women in health screenings, explored racial disparities in quality of life after cancer diagnoses, and designed a community-based program to help patients navigate the health care systems. Currently, she is the principal investigator for the Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center in Precision Medicine and Minority Men’s Health, in which role she is examining the role of stress and stress reactivity in disease progression and response to treatment, with a focus on African American men. In all of her work she aims not only to understand disparities but also to reduce inequity.

Hughes-Halbert is professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, the AT&T Distinguished Endowed Chair in Cancer Equity and the dean of assessment, evaluation, and quality improvement at the Medical University of South Carolina.