Dr. Neha Goel Honored with John K. and Judy H. Schulte Endowed Chair in Cancer Research
The Schultes’ endowment will allow Dr. Goel to continue her translational research focused on breast cancer.
Throughout their lives, John and Judy Schulte were ardent supporters of the University of Miami and Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. John proudly served on Sylvester’s Board of Governors for 15 years, and the couple believed wholeheartedly in Sylvester’s mission to reduce the human burden of cancer. But the Schultes’ greatest gift to Sylvester was a bequest to establish the John K. and Judy H. Schulte Endowed Chair in Cancer Research.
Their legacy now lives on through the innovative research conducted by the esteemed recipients of the Schulte Endowed Chair, the third of which was recently presented to Neha Goel, M.D., M.P.H., member of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and associate professor of surgical oncology in the DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery at the Miller School of Medicine.
The Schultes’ endowment allows Dr. Goel to continue her translational research focused on breast cancer, novel translational approaches to understanding disparities, and scientific outreach and engagement in addressing cancer disparities. Specifically, it will help fund the Miami Breast Cancer Disparities Study, a prospective cohort study that uses mixed methods to understand multilevel causes of disparities.
“I had the privilege of recruiting Dr. Goel to Sylvester and have been continually impressed by the strides she has made to understand disparities in cancer research,” said Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., director of Sylvester, the Oscar de la Renta Endowed Chair in Cancer Research and executive dean for research at the Miller School. “By presenting Dr. Goel with the John K. and Judy H. Schulte Endowed Chair in Cancer Research, we recognize her talent and provide her with the resources to continue her valuable investigations.”
The Importance of Endowed Chairs
In welcoming guests, which included Dr. Goel’s family, friends, colleagues, as well as University dignitaries, to the August 23 chair presentation ceremony, Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A., dean and chief academic officer of the Miller School, spoke of the significance of an endowed chair.
“As one of the highest academic honors that can be bestowed upon a faculty member, an endowed chair marks their dedication to the advancements of novel ideas and the pursuit of excellence in research,” said Dean Ford, noting that Dr. Goel now joins previous Schulte Endowed Chair recipients Erin Kobetz, Ph.D., M.P.H., vice provost for research and scholarship, co-director of the Clinical Translational Research Institute and associate director of community outreach and engagement at Sylvester; and Wael El-Rifai, M.D., Ph.D., associate director of basic science and co-leader of the Tumor Biology Program at Sylvester and professor and associate vice chair of the DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery.
In receiving the third Schulte endowed chair, Dr. Goel became the 97th of the 100 new endowed faculty chairs the University hopes to fund by 2025 as part of its centennial strategic plan.
“Endowing chairs is critical to helping universities progress and helping faculty members, such as Dr. Goel, make incredible, impactful and meaningful contributions to science,” said Guillermo “Willy” Prado, Ph.D., interim executive vice president for academic affairs and provost for the University of Miami.
W. Jarrard “Jerry” Goodwin, M.D., former director of Sylvester and emeritus professor of otolaryngology at the Miller School, was a longtime friend of the Schultes. Dr. Goodwin was among the leaders who helped lay the foundation for Sylvester to reach national prominence as the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in South Florida.
“John loved the U and cared deeply about the medical school and, most especially, about the people and the mission of Sylvester,” said Dr. Goodwin. “I know that the Schultes would be thrilled to know their philanthropy will support the important work Dr. Goel is doing.”
A Commitment to Bench-to-bedside Medicine
As a triple board-certified surgeon-scientist and social epidemiologist, Dr. Goel represents Sylvester’s commitment to bench-to-bedside medicine.
“She is dedicated to taking an individualized, multidisciplinary approach to providing the highest level of care for her patients,” said Laurence Sands, M.D., M.B.A., professor and interim chair of the DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery. “We are lucky to have Dr. Goel’s expertise at the Miller School.”
While Dr. Sands acknowledged Dr. Goel’s clinical acumen, Dr. Kobetz appreciated Dr. Goel’s translational research.
“You have taken the work that we do in disparities and pushed it in ways that I could have only dreamed about,” said Dr. Kobetz, who introduced her mentee. “You bring interdisciplinary science together to think about disparities and how we must dial toward health equality. I believe the potential for progress in how people experience cancer is in your science.”
Dr. Goel expressed her sincere appreciation for the Schultes’ compassion and vision in dedicating and endowing a chair position to help end cancer disparities. She also thanked Sylvester’s leadership for their commitment to her research.
“Dr. Nimer, thank you for building a cancer center that leads the nation and is setting high standards for disparity research,” said Dr. Goel. “You have provided me with the resources, funding and sponsorship to build my dream lab dedicated to taking the translational cell-to-society approach to study disparities.”