Yolanda Sanchez headshot

UNM’s Cancer Center Welcomes New Director

Jun 6, 2023 | Campus Connections, Spring 2023

Yolanda Sanchez, PhD, a pioneer in cancer research, has been named director and CEO of The University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Sanchez has been a professor of Molecular and Systems Biology and associate director of Basic Sciences at Dartmouth Cancer Center. She was born in El Paso, but grew up in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, and will become the first Hispanic woman to lead a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center.

UNM President Garnett S. Stokes called her “a proven leader and collaborator” and Douglas Ziedonis, MD, MPH, executive vice president for Health Sciences and CEO of the UNM Health System, said Sanchez’s experience as a Mexican-American in the sciences gives her “a unique perspective to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at academic institutions.”

Sanchez completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees in the University of Texas system and completed her PhD research at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. She joined the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine faculty in 1998 and was granted tenure in 2004. She was recruited to Dartmouth Medical School (now known as the Geisel School of Medicine) in 2006.

Sanchez has worked extensively with leaders of clinical oncology groups in the Dartmouth Cancer Center, an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center and Dartmouth Health System to understand their concerns and clinical care passions and found ways to increase research and mentoring in those settings.

As a co-investigator of Dartmouth’s Program for Oncology Workforce Education and Research Experience, she helped develop innovative training and recruitment platforms to help women and under-represented minorities pursue careers in oncology.

Returning to the Southwest and joining UNM “is the opportunity of a lifetime,” Sanchez said. “I’m looking forward to partnering with community stakeholders – including the American Indian pueblos and nations and Black and Hispanic communities – to fuel transdisciplinary research and develop innovative methods to translate UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center discoveries to reduce the cancer burden and overcome health disparities in New Mexico.”

Spring 2023 Mirage Magazine Features


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