Ass’t. Prof. of Surgery/Dir. of Breast Cancer Surgical Research, Columbia Univ. Med. Center, New York City. Age: 35
Inspired by her mother’s unyielding determination, Kathie-Ann Joseph, M.D., M.P.H., became the first African-American woman to be appointed to the faculty of the Department of Surgery at Columbia University Medical Center. She specializes in the management and treatment of breast cancer. The daughter of a former cancer patient, she understands the effects of cancer on patients and their families. Her devotion to fighting the deadly disease has fueled numerous research projects.
An honors graduate of Harvard University, with an A.B. in sociology, Joseph received the prestigious Hoopes Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Research for her thesis, “Triple Jeopardy: Poor, Elderly, African-American Women and Barriers to Breast and Cervical Cancer.” She has continued to gain recognition for her innovative approaches to cancer treatment. She also was the recipient of the Southwest Oncology Group Young Investigator Award and the American Association for Cancer Research Minority Scholar Award. Last September she organized a conference designed to raise awareness and disseminate information about breast cancer to women of color. More than 200 women attended the free event. Through her participation in the Healthy Women Screening Partnership, she provides complimentary cancer treatment to uninsured breast cancer patients.
Joseph says she sees no point in being upset about injustices. Rather, she encourages finding solutions and ways to circumvent obstacles. “Don’t get mad, get ahead,” she likes to say. She would love to spend more time with young people who are interested in science and medicine, she says. “So many young people who have the interest give up because they get poor advice, don’t have the resources or lack focus. Math and science should be valued as much as entertainment and sports,” she says.
Joseph acquired her M.D. from Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and a master’s degree in public health from Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. She resides in Brooklyn, N.Y., with her husband, Dr. David Joseph, and two sons, Devon, 7, and Justin, 3.