Supriya Mohile, M.D., M.S., who has an international reputation for advancing the field of geriatric oncology, was honored with another milestone in her career by being elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), one of the oldest medical honor societies.
ASCI receives hundreds of nominations each year for election, and chooses less than 100 physician-scientists for membership, all of whom are under age 50 with outstanding scholarly achievement. The distinguished Society is dedicated not only to research but to leaders who are committed to mentoring others. Mohile has made her mark in this area at the University of Rochester Medical Center and Wilmot Cancer Institute, by serving in many leadership positions while juggling patient care and groundbreaking research activities.
Mohile’s trailblazing efforts in geriatric oncology began several years ago, as she pursued the need for more data about the oldest cancer patients, who comprise the majority of cases but had been historically ineligible for clinical studies. Because of that, there was little understanding of their unique needs upon a cancer diagnosis. At Wilmot, she established a geriatric oncology research group and also founded one of the nation’s few geriatric oncology clinics as a model for caring for adults 70 and older.
More recently, Mohile and a group of collaborative colleagues at the national Cancer and Aging Research Group (CARG), led a transformational shift in cancer care toward properly assessing an older patient’s overall health and support systems. They have adapted and studied the effectiveness of a geriatric assessment tool, to measure factors such as a patient’s cognition/memory, heart disease and diabetes and other common co-illnesses, medication usage, and living arrangements — taking into account the wellbeing of the whole person when making decisions about the risks and benefits of cancer treatment.
Her achievements have been rewarded by the American Social of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the largest professional organization for physician-scientists who specialize in cancer. In 2018, Mohile was named the ASCO B.J. Kennedy Award winner and delivered a geriatric oncology lecture at ASCO’s annual meeting.
In 2021, she was lead author on the nation’s first-ever evidence-based geriatric oncology guidelines for doctors, promoting the benefits of a geriatric assessment.
That same year, she published important research in The Lancet, which showed for the first time that oncologists can safely lower the dose of chemotherapy without impacting survival for adults older than 70 who are at high risk for toxic side effects. The study proved that personalized care could be effectively delivered to older people based on their medical histories and individual circumstances. In the past, doctors had been reluctant to deviate from standard practices.
A newer study co-authored by Mohile in November 2022 and published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, confirmed that older patients who received a geriatric assessment self-reported that they were able to avoid the toxic side effects of cancer treatment.
Mohile, who recently was awarded tenure at URMC, is the Philip and Marilyn Wehrheim Professor in the division of Hematology/Oncology. She is co-leader of the Cancer Prevention and Control research program at Wilmot, Vice-Chair for Academic Affairs in the Department of Medicine at URMC, and serves as editor-in chief of the Journal of Geriatric Oncology.
She also has an appointment in the URMC Department of Surgery. Mohile has mentored many successful trainees and junior faculty members, and continues to do so. In her academic affairs position, she leads promotions and tenure decisions.