Edward J. Benz, Jr., MD Awarded 2020 ASH Award for Leadership in Promoting Diversity

Dr. Edward J. Benz, Jr., President and CEO Emeritus of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Massachusetts and the Richard and Susan Smith Distinguished Professor at Harvard Medical School in Massachusetts received the 2020 ASH Award for Leadership in Promoting Diversity. The honor was bestowed upon him for his work in promoting minority and women hematologists during his career.

The ASH Award for Leadership in Promoting Diversity recognizes hematologists who strive to create a workplace for other hematologists that is diverse, inclusive and encourages the career development of minority trainees or have committed to such a workplace through support for ASH’s mission.

In addition to Hematology, Dr. Benz is also recognized internationally as a physician-scientist who has dedicated his time and efforts to increasing diversity in healthcare and academic medicine. Of the over 50 scientists he’s personally trained throughout his career, women comprise a large number.

Dr. Benz’s accomplishments include:

  • Increasing the number of women, supporting junior faculty, and underrepresented minority faculty members at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
  • Began a trans-institutional Initiative to Eliminate Cancer Disparities
  • Initiated a partnership with the University of Massachusetts Boston to encourage students from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue careers in health and science
  • Established the first Dana-Farber Clinic in a community that serves minority patients

Once a benefactor of strong mentorship himself, Dr. Benz understands the unique challenges young professionals face and the importance of a strong support matrix to foster academic and career success for young professionals. He also understands the challenges that affect diverse patient populations and the need for solutions and treatment from diverse medical teams. He states, “We are rapidly becoming a pluralistic minority-majority society, all of whose members are susceptible to the broad array of conditions that we as hematologists attempt to decipher, diagnose, and treat. As in all areas of medicine, hematologists need to represent that diversity within our ranks if we are to understand and address the needs and challenges of the patients for whom we provide care… If we do not diversify our ‘person-force’ we will fail to tap into all of the pools of talent needed to make the best use of the tremendous opportunities to apply science to meaningful and equitably shared progress against hematologic illnesses.”