Kennedy-Rea selected as finalist for National Cancer Award

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Stephenie Kennedy-Rea, Ed.D., WVU Cancer Institute associate director for Cancer Prevention and Control, has been honored as a finalist in the second annual Cancer Community (C2) Awards Catalyst for Change category.

Kennedy-Rea, Ed.D.
Stephenie Kennedy-Rea, Ed.D.

This national award – hosted by AstraZeneca and Scientific American Custom Media –recognizes unsung heroes who have sparked impactful change in the cancer community. The Catalyst for Change category celebrates those who increase access to care for underserved populations.

“It is not a secret that rural oncology care is struggling,” Hannah Hazard-Jenkins, M.D., WVU Cancer Institute interim director, said. “The outcomes for rural patients are worse when compared to urban counterparts. Dr. Kennedy-Rea and her team have been addressing these disparities in care for decades. Her leadership of Cancer Prevention and Control (CPC) at the WVU Cancer Institute has improved patient outcomes, increased access to screening, and enhanced awareness of cancer health disparities in our state.

“Through initiatives like developing and implementing Bonnie’s Bus, a mobile mammography unit; increasing colon and lung cancer screening; and improving HPV vaccination, to name a few, CPC and the Cancer Institute are improving cancer outcomes. Stephenie is a passionate advocate for raising awareness of how a person’s social determinants of health are a dominant factor in patient outcomes and why effective cancer control must include policy, systems, and environmental change initiatives. We are honored to have her as a leader in our Cancer Institute team and are privileged to have her advocacy on behalf of Appalachian and rural oncology patients.”

Kennedy-Rea was nominated in the C2 Catalyst for Change category by one of the Cancer Institute’s national cancer control partners. The nomination focused on her work to reduce cancer health disparities throughout the state. In combatting the state’s most deadly cancers, she secured national funding and increased the number of West Virginians screened for colorectal cancer by more than 100,000 over the last five years. In addition, she also created an infrastructure to improve access to lung cancer screening, a cancer that is the leading cause of cancer deaths in West Virginia.

The C2 Awards saw more than 130 nominations this year from organizations across 30 states spanning four award categories. Nominees were evaluated by a panel of third-party judges, and the awards ceremony is planned for Oct. 21. A full list of finalists is available here.

To learn more about WVU Cancer Institute Cancer Prevention and Control, visit