Juanita Merchant, MD, PhD, University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson professor of medicine in the Department of Medicine and chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, was named to a second term on the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Council.
“Being named to another term on the NAM Council means that I have been recognized by a broad swath of the top leaders in academia to represent them in the National Academy,” said Dr. Merchant, who is also the associate director for basic sciences at the UArizona Cancer Center.
The academy’s mission is to “improve health for all by advancing science, accelerating health equity and providing independent, authoritative and trusted advice nationally and globally,” according to their website.
Dr. Merchant earned a doctorate in cell biology and a medical degree in internal medicine from the Yale School of Medicine in 1984. She completed an internship, residency in internal medicine and a clinical/research fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a clinical fellowship in gastroenterology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Merchant joined the Department of Medicine in July 2018 after being recruited from the University of Michigan, where she held a faculty position since 1991.
“The research in my lab focuses on understanding how normal cells in the GI tract become re-programmed into cancer. Of particular interest is how long-standing inflammation initiated by the bacterial pathogen Helicobacter pylori initiates the reprogramming,” Dr. Merchant said.
Dr. Merchant says her inspiration comes from “teaching students and junior faculty, the excitement of discovery, and from working through mechanisms that further our understanding of the medical sciences.”
The UArizona Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center headquartered in the state of Arizona. “I have been pleased to participate in the leadership of the College of Medicine – Tucson and the Comprehensive Cancer Center to deliver precision-guided medicine to a diverse population of students and patients,” Dr. Merchant said.
Dr. Merchant’s second three-year term on the NAM Council, which is the governing body of the National Academy of Medicine, will begin July 1, 2022, and continue through June 30, 2025.