Julie Palmer, professor of epidemiology, has been named director of the Slone Epidemiology Center. She has served as the associate director of the center since 2016 and replaced David Kaufman, professor of epidemiology, on July 1.
“The Slone Center already has faculty and collaborators from several schools and departments within Boston University, and I look forward to the development of additional partnerships,” says Palmer, who also serves as the director of the BU-BMC Cancer Center, and was recently named the Karin Grunebaum Cancer Research Professor of hematology and medical oncology at the School of Medicine.
Founded in 1975, the Slone Epidemiology Center is a research organization that focuses on studying the possible health effects of a variety of factors in adults and children, including behavioral, psychosocial, socioeconomic, environmental, and genetic factors.
Palmer has focused much of her research on understanding the disproportionately high incidence of a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer, hormone receptor negative breast cancer, in African American women, and on reducing the racial disparities in breast cancer mortality. She is a founder and principal investigator of the Black Women’s Health Study, one of Slone’s key research programs. The prospective, cohort study assesses risk factors for cancers and other major illnesses in 59,000 African American women who have been followed by biennial questionnaires for more than 20 years.
Palmer is currently developing an improved breast cancer risk prediction model for African American women for use at the primary care level, and is leading an effort to determine the prevalence and penetrance of susceptibility variants of BRCA1, BRCA2 and other cancer predisposition genes in an unselected African American population.