Renowned cancer specialist drops ‘homecoming gems’ during TSU lecture series

Last updated on November 4th, 2019 at 09:31 am

Dr. Edith P. Mitchell was the keynote speaker. (photo by Evan Furman)

Homecoming at Tennessee State University isn’t just tailgates, fish sandwiches and marching bands.

Right before homecoming really popped off, about 125 TSU students and faculty joined together at the Robert N. Murrell Forum on the main campus October 17 for the second annual Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Lecture Series. Dr. Edith P. Mitchell was the keynote speaker.

Dr. Mitchell is a clinical professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology who has dedicated her career to helping individuals in medically underserved areas. Her main goal is to make them realize that simple changes in their lifestyle can have a dramatic impact on cancer care.

She discussed the ‘Breast Cancer Burden’ for African American women, the cancer rate declining, and understanding the racial disparities in cancer. She informed the audience there are more White people with health insurance and ultimately more cancer care being paid for.

“Medicare has made a difference, [but it’s] still unequal for minorities of color,” said Mitchell.

Following the program, the university unveiled a display case dedicated to Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr.

The lecture series is a component of Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr., Institute that was established to honor Watkins, a 1966 alumnus of TSU and the first African American to be accepted into and graduate from the Vanderbilt School of Medicine. Watkins is known worldwide for being the first surgeon to successfully implant an automatic heart defibrillator in a human patient.

Dr. Watkins said her mission that day was to encourage African American students at TSU to enter the field of medicine. Any student at the lecture who has a true passion for healthcare and saving the lives of African Americans was truly inspired by her powerful knowledge.