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Barbara K. Rimer, dean of UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, received the American Cancer Society’s Medal of Honor for outstanding contributions to fighting cancer.

This award from the American Cancer Society, the nation’s leading voluntary health organization and largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, represents the society’s highest honor.

Past recipients of the award include former U.S. president George H.W. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush; the late Edward M. Kennedy, senator from Massachusetts; George N. Papanicolau, inventor of the Pap test; and the late C. Everett Koop, former U.S. surgeon general.

Rimer received the Medal of Honor for Cancer Control, particularly for her work in breast cancer screening, which has guided national research, practice and policy for more than 20 years. Her work has evolved with the field – from raising awareness of screening and increasing screening initiation to promoting screening maintenance. She has informed national policy and has been a leader in addressing health disparities based on race, ethnicity and economics.

In addition to her research, Rimer has served in a number of leadership positions in the field. She was founding director of the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences and chair of the Institute’s National Cancer Advisory Board. She served as deputy director for population sciences at UNC Lineberger, associate director for cancer control at the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center and director of behavioral research at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

A UNC faculty member since 2003 and dean since 2005, Rimer has published extensively on a wide range of topics including cancer screening, tobacco control, and genetic and genomics-based testing. She holds the Alumni Distinguished Professorship in health behavior at the Gillings School and is a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. She chairs the national President’s Cancer Panel, is vice chair of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Task Force on Community Preventive Services and is an elected member of the prestigious Institute of Medicine.

Rimer received the Medal of Honor on May 22 at the society’s 100th Birthday Summit in Atlanta.

Read more about Rimer at the Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Read more about Rimer at the American Cancer Society.

Published May 23, 2013.