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Elvan Daniels, MD, MPH

Senior Vice President
Center for Diversity in Cancer Research

close-up portrait of Elvan Daniels, MD, MPH - Director, Cancer Prevention and Control Program

Why I Work at ACS

Cancer touches humanity in profound ways and can evoke transformational change in individuals, families, and communities. I appreciate being part of an organization that’s shaping the future of cancer care and research with innovation, social justice, and relevant public policy as core guideposts. Mentoring and nurturing budding cancer researchers is one way I am passing the torch to the next generation.”

At ACS since 2012

As  Senior Vice President of the Center for Diversity in Cancer Research Training, Elvan “Ellie” Daniels, MD, MPH, oversees the 3 ACS training programs for young adults who are part of populations that are underrepresented in the biomedical sciences:

  • Summer Internship Experience (SHE) for high school students who identify as female,
  • ACS DICR Internship program for undergraduate college students
  • Post-Baccalaureate Program for college graduates who are aspiring for a doctoral degree

Research focus and accomplishments

Since being employed at ACS, Daniels has created and led several special initiatives. Previously, she was Senior Vice President for ACS Extramural Discovery Science (EDS). For many years, she led the  grant program for Clinical and Cancer Control Research, where she initiated the supplemental funding through the Institutional Research Grant for DICR internships.

With input from internal and external stakeholders, she modified the “Priority Area to Reduce Cancer Disparities” and retitled it the “Priority Focus on Health Equity.” The goal was to stimulate research studies addressing how racism and discrimination intersect with other root causes that unpin health disparities. These root causes may be related to age, gender, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, literacy level, geography, etc. Increasing research in these areas may better inform health policy, improve clinical practice and boost public health.

Daniels also led a nutrition and physical activity advisory committee that developed a set of key recommendations, and later four themes, that were instrumental to scientists developing new RFAs. For more information on the active special initiatives see: Apply for a Grant on the ACS web site.

Special Initiatives:


Alcaraz KI, Wiedt TL, Daniels ECD et al. Understanding and addressing social determinants to advance cancer health equity in the United States: A blueprint for practice, research, and policy. CA: A journal for clinicians. 2020;70(1):31-46. PMID: 31661164 

Neuman RM, Alfano CM, Radomski MV, Pergolotii M, Wolf, TF , Sleigh AG, Bryant AL, Voelbel GT, de Moor JS, Nitkin R, Daniels E, Braveman B, Walker RK, Williams GR, Winters-Stone KM, Cheville Al, Campbell SE, Lawlor MC, King AA, Ness KK, Srivastava P, Lyons, KD. Catalyzing research to optimize cancer survivors’ participation in work and life roles. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health. May 3, 2019 [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 31046601. 

Tilley BC , Mainous AG 3rd, Smith, W, McKee MD, Amorrortu RP, Alvidrez J, Diaz V, Ford ME, Fernandez ME, Hauser RA, Singer C, Landa V, Trevino A, DeSantis SM, Zhange Y, Daniels E, Tabor D, Vernon SW. Design of a cluster-randomized minority recruitment trial: RECRUIT.  Clin Trials.2017;14(3):286-298 PMID: 28545336

Ligibel JA, Alfano CM, Hershman D, Ballard RM, Bruinooge SS, Courneya KS, Daniels EC, Demark-Wahnefried W, Frank ES, Goodwin PJ, Irwin ML, Levit LA, McCaskill-Stevens W, Minasian LM, O'Rourke MA, Pierce JP, Stein KD, Thomson CA, Hudis CA. Recommendations for Obesity Clinical Trials in Cancer Survivors: American Society of Clinical Oncology Statement.  J Clin Oncol. 2015 Nov 20;33(33):3961-7 PMID: 26324364



Work before ACS

  • Morehouse School of Medicine:
    • National Center for Primary Care, Associate Director for Community Oriented Primary Care
    • Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Associate Professor
    • Family Medicine, Associate Professor of Community Health
    • Southeast Regional Clinician Network - a practice-based research network practice, Director
    • Institutional Review Board, Co-chair 
  • Family Health Centers of South Carolina, Vice President Clinical Services
  • Franklin C. Fetter Family Health Center, Medical Director
  • Guthrie Clinic Women's Wellness Center, Director

Professional organizations

  • American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) 
  • American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
  • American Association for Physician Leadership (AAPL)
  • American Medicine Association (AMA)
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
  • Georgia Academy of Family Physician (GAFP), Membership Director, District Delegate, Board of Directors
  • National Medical Association (NMA)


  • MPH: Health Outcomes, Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, 2003-2007
  • Faculty Development/Primary Care: Morehouse School of Medicine, 2001-2002
  • Faculty Development/Clinical Research: Medical University of South Carolina, 2000-2001
  • Family Medicine Residency: Medical College of Hampton Roads, 1986-1989
  • MD: Wayne State University, School of Medicine, 1981-1986
  • BS: Biology, University of Detroit, 1974-1978

Personal life 

I live in Atlanta, GA, with my husband Bill, and I enjoy crafts and culinary arts. I started working with ACS as a volunteer to lend a voice to people living in underserved communities and to foster better communication between specialists and primary care physicians.