Jennifer Young Pierce, M.D., M.P.H., FACOG, is the director of the Division of Cancer Control and Prevention at the USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute, where she conducts research in cancer care delivery and supportive care for cancer patients and survivors, and is a principal investigator on grants totaling $1.3 million.
By Carol McPhail
Jennifer Young Pierce, M.D., M.P.H., FACOG, has been named the recipient of the 2023 Mayer Mitchell Award for Excellence in Cancer Research.
Pierce is the director of the Division of Cancer Control and Prevention at the USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute, where she conducts research in cancer care delivery and supportive care for cancer patients and survivors, and is a principal investigator on grants totaling $1.3 million. She also is a professor of interdisciplinary clinical oncology and an Abraham A. Mitchell Clinical Research Scholar.
The $10,000 award is presented annually to a promising scientist at the Mitchell Cancer Institute upon the recommendation of a faculty committee. The award was established in 2009 by University of South Alabama Trustee Arlene Mitchell in memory of her late husband, Mayer Mitchell, a Mobile businessman, longtime USA trustee, and formative figure in the establishment of the MCI.
“Dr. Pierce’s research on cancer patient outcomes and patient-reported issues is groundbreaking. Her work is well-funded and conducted in collaboration with teams at several other institutions,” said John V. Marymont, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the Whiddon College of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs. “She is very deserving of this award.”
A gynecologic oncologist, Pierce came to the MCI in 2017 from South Carolina, where she conducted a systematic study of the uptake of the HPV vaccine and collaborated with statewide partners on campaigns to improve HPV vaccination rates. She has served as the statewide HPV vaccine champion for both South Carolina and Alabama. After joining the MCI, she worked with colleagues to assess Alabama’s HPV vaccination rates and cervical cancer rates by county and presented this research at an international meeting.
Pierce has contributed to state, regional and national HPV roundtables and has served as a member of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology Cervical Cancer Elimination Task Force and the World Health Organization Cervical Cancer Elimination Consortium.
She also conducts research relating to mechanisms of action in the carcinogenesis, immune impact, and spread of GYN malignancies and continues to provide important insight into effective diagnosis, treatment and prevention, along with her colleagues at the MCI.
“Conducting research on cancer care delivery and supportive care is so important for our community,” said Owen Bailey, MSHA, FACHE, USA Health chief executive officer and senior associate vice president for medical affairs. “I congratulate Dr. Pierce on her impactful work and for winning this award. We are so thankful to have her on the MCI team.”
Pierce earned a medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina and a Master of Public Health from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. She completed residency training in OB-GYN at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and fellowship training in gynecologic oncology at the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville. In 2009, she became the first female gynecologic oncologist in South Carolina.
At the Whiddon College of Medicine, Pierce serves as director of the Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Program, associate designated institutional official, and assistant dean of Graduate Medical Education. She is also the host of The Cancering Show podcast, now in its fourth season.
About the USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute
The USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute stands as the only academic cancer treatment and research facility along the upper Gulf Coast. Continuous research and technological advancements keep the MCI at the forefront of cancer treatment and outcomes. Providers and staff are dedicated to bringing the most advanced care to people in the region, including having available clinical trials that are the steppingstones to widespread treatment options.