Edith Peterson Mitchell, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and medical oncology and is clinical professor, Department of Medicine and Medical Oncology; program leader, Gastrointestinal Oncology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and associate director for diversity programs and director of the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities for the Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson.
Dr. Mitchell has spent her medical career helping individuals in medically underserved areas to realize that simple changes in lifestyle can have a dramatic impact on cancer care. Through her work, Dr. Mitchell has demonstrated the importance of community service and outreach, especially to those individuals who may not have the means to seek out more conventional medical advice.
Dr. Mitchell received a bachelor of science in biochemistry “with distinction” from Tennessee State University and her medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. In 1973, while attending medical school, Dr. Mitchell entered the Air Force and received a commission through the Health Professions Scholarship Program. She entered active duty after completing her internship and residency in internal medicine at Meharry Medical College and a fellowship in medical oncology at Georgetown University.
Dr. Mitchell’s research in breast, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers and other GI malignancies involves new drug evaluation and chemotherapy, development of new therapeutic regimens, chemoradiation strategies for combined modality therapy, patient selection criteria and supportive care for patients with gastrointestinal cancer. She travels nationally and internationally teaching and lecturing on the treatment of gastrointestinal malignancies.
Dr. Mitchell has authored and co-authored more than 100 articles, book chapters, and abstracts on cancer treatment, prevention, and cancer control. As a distinguished researcher, she has received many cancer research and principal investigator awards, including a Promise Grant from the Susan G. Komen Foundation. She has served on several National Cancer Institute Review Panels, including the Clinical Trials and Translational Research Advisory Committee.
Dr. Mitchell holds leadership positions in the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the National Medical Association, and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of the National Medical Association.
Among her many honors, Dr. Mitchell has received The ‘Tree of Life’ Award, which recognizes health professionals who are committed to making a difference in community health. Recipients of this coveted award have made extraordinary contributions to health management in both the local and global communities. Dr. Mitchell was awarded the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Control Award for her significant commitment to research, education, and diversity. In 2010, she was selected for the National Cancer Care Physician of the Year Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution of time and talent. Other awards for Dr. Mitchell include the 2009 Looking Glass Award presented by the Living with Cancer Foundation and the Women in Medicine Research Award from the National Medical Association.
Dr. Mitchell was selected as the 2011 Practitioner of the Year Award by the Philadelphia Society of Medicine and as 2012 Humanitarian Practitioner of the Year by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. She received the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Dr. Mitchell was inducted as an honoree in the National Historically Black College Hall of Fame in September, 2013 and received the Octavius Valentine Catto Award for community service to the City of Philadelphia from the Mann Center in March, 2014. She was recognized among the “2015 Top Blacks in Healthcare.” Dr. Mitchell is the 116th president of the National Medical Association.
In addition to her medical achievements, Dr. Mitchell is a retired brigadier general, the first female physician to attain this rank in the history of the U.S. Air Force, having served as the Air National Guard assistant to the command surgeon for U.S. Transportation Command and Headquarters Air Mobility Command (AMC) based at the Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. In this capacity, she served as the senior medical Air National Guard advisor to the command surgeon and was the medical liaison between the active Air Force and the Air National Guard. Her responsibilities in this role included ensuring maximum wartime readiness and combat support capability of the worldwide patient movement and aeromedical evacuation system, the Global Patient Movement Requirements Center and AMC’s 52 Air National Guard medical squadrons.
General Mitchell has been awarded over 15 military service medals and ribbons including the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Achievement and Commendation Medals, National Defense Service Medal and Humanitarian Service Medal. Dr. Mitchell was selected for inclusion in America’s Top Oncologists. Dr. Mitchell is a fellow of the American College of Physicians, a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, European Society of Medical Oncology, American Medical Association, National Medical Association, Aerospace Medical Association, Association of Military Surgeons, the Medical Society of Eastern Pennsylvania, the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, and the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project.
On a personal note, Dr. Mitchell enjoys gardening, quilting, and listening to jazz and rock music while spending time with her family. She and husband Delmar, have been married forty-five years and have two daughters, Dale and DeAnna, a granddaughter, Gabriella and grandson, Jude.