UNC Lineberger’s Cleo Samuel-Ryals, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, is one of four UNC faculty members awarded the 2021 Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement.
The Hettleman Prizes were established in 1986 by the late Phillip Hettleman, a member of the Carolina class of 1921, and his wife, Ruth, to recognize the achievements of outstanding junior tenure-track faculty or recently tenured faculty. The honor includes a $5,000 stipend.
In addition to Samuel-Ryals, the other recipients are Nicholas Law, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Alice Marwick, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Communication, and Daniel Matute, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Biology. The four were recognized at the Sept. 3 Faculty Council Meeting, and each delivered a 15-minute virtual presentation on their research Nov. 9 during University Research Week.
Samuel-Ryals is a health services researcher whose research, teaching and service activities demonstrate her steadfast commitment to racial justice and health equity. She is particularly interested in disentangling the multilevel sources (e.g., clinician bias, structural racism) of inequities in palliative and supportive cancer care and addressing such inequities through system-level approaches that leverage health informatics tools and community partnerships.
She is the principal investigator of Symptom and Healthcare Access Reporting and Evaluation (SHARE) for Supportive Care Equity, a five-year National Cancer Institute funded study focused on understanding and addressing racial inequities in symptom management among patients with cancer. As part of the SHARE study, Samuel-Ryals and her team are analyzing data from the UNC Health Registry/Cancer Survivorship Cohort to inform the development of a novel electronic patient-reported outcome tool designed to routinely monitor symptoms and symptom-relevant health care access challenges during cancer treatment.
“Samuel-Ryals has a most impressive record of research funding, peer-reviewed publications, teaching, mentoring and service,” said Morris Weinberger, Vergil N. Slee Distinguished Professor of Healthcare Quality Management and chair of the health and policy management department, and UNC Lineberger’s Stephanie Wheeler, PhD, associate director of community outreach and engagement and professor of health policy and management. “Her research will not only increase our understanding of health disparities, but also guide the development of interventions that improve the lives of cancer patients.”
Samuel-Ryals was honored in 2019 as a 40 Under 40 Leader in Minority Health by the National Minority Quality Forum and Congressional Black Caucus, and was appointed in 2020 to serve on the National Cancer Policy Forum within the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Samuel-Ryals is also the founding director of the Centering Racial Equity in Data Science Initiative within the UNC Lineberger Cancer Outcomes Research Program.
Samuel-Ryals earned a doctorate in health policy from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Miami.