In Memoriam: Worta McCaskill-Stevens, MD

(July 26, 1949–November 15, 2023)

Worta McCaskill-Stevens, MD, former chief of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Community Oncology and Prevention Trials Research Group and former director of the NCI Community Oncology Research Program, was a tireless champion of addressing cancer disparities.

Born on July 26, 1949, in Louisburg, North Carolina, Dr. McCaskill-Stevens attended Washington University in St. Louis and the Georgetown University Medical School, graduating in 1985. At Georgetown, she received the Sarah E. Steward Award for Leadership in Medicine and the Kaiser Family Fund Award for Excellence in Academic Achievement. She trained in internal medicine at Georgetown and completed a fellowship in medical oncology at the Mayo Clinic in 1991.

Dr. McCaskill-Stevens worked as a breast cancer oncologist before joining NCI in 1998 in the Community Clinical Oncology Program. She also served as program director for the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene, which involved nearly 20,000 postmenopausal women at increased risk of breast cancer, and she helped plan the Tomosynthesis Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial (TMIST), an ongoing, international breast cancer screening trial of nearly 130,000 women ages 45 to 74. She herself participated in TMIST.

Monica Bertagnolli, MD, then director of NCI and now director of the National Institutes of Health, announced in August 2023 the creation of a training award named in her honor, the NCI Worta McCaskill-Stevens Career Development Award for Community Oncology and Prevention Research. McCaskill-Stevens worked for NCI for 25 years.

In 2017, Georgetown University awarded Dr. McCaskill-Stevens an honorary doctorate in science. She also received the David King Community Clinical Scientist Award from the Association of Community Cancer Centers in 2020.

A member of the AACR since 2007, she was chair of the Women in Cancer Research Council from 2012–2013 and was a member of the Minorities in Cancer Research (MICR) Council. In 2016, she received the AACR-MICR Jane Cooke Wright Memorial Lectureship.

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