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Julie Anna Wolfson

I am a Pediatric Oncologist and Health Services Researcher.

Julie Anna Wolfson, M.D., M.S.H.S.

University of Alabama at Birmingham

Fresh out of fellowship and beyond, my very wise mentor insisted that I do all of my own analyses. When I first saw my hypotheses come alive in the numbers on my screen, I may have jumped out of my seat with both excitement and dismay that it was true. I was drawn irreversibly into the world of research. I had to understand the "why" and to "fix it."

Dr. Wolfson's research interests lie in healthcare inequities. To that end, her research program aims to contribute academically to the health policy dialogue surrounding cancer and vulnerable populations. Her current focus is on addressing outcome disparities among adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer. Her work has examined the impact of treatment site and other aspects of cancer care delivery on relapse and survival among AYA cancer patients. In particular, outcome among AYAs with Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) have lagged behind those in children. While inadequate systemic exposure to oral 6MP during maintenance therapy for ALL is associated with an increased risk of relapse, the underlying determinants of systemic exposure to 6MP in AYA have not been examined. Dr. Wolfson's current R01 project builds off an AYA ALL Consortium that she built with foundation funding; it expands the consortium to explore patient-related and system-related factors that may influence systemic exposure to 6MP in AYA ALL, as well as the barriers and facilitators within these domains. By identifying actionable targets in both domains, this project sets the stage to develop meaningful interventions.

During her training, Dr. Wolfson recognized that as a clinician, she could make a daily impact in the lives of her patients, but an array of issues could not be addressed at the individual level. After an undergraduate education in the humanities, she was drawn to community health, where she experienced health care disparities on the ground floor. Understanding that a robust body of literature would be necessary to break down barriers to care, she plunged into the academic field of health services research. As she cared for her AYA patients, she peered over the cliff where outcomes dropped, and decided to leverage her health services background to not only unlock the reasons why, but also mitigate those outcome disparities.

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Last Updated: 04/29/2021 10:36:30