Achieving Health Equity in Lung Cancer Surgery


Rian M. Hasson Charles, MD, MPH, FACS, discusses advances in equitable lung cancer screening and her experiences as a woman in thoracic oncology.

In a conversation with CancerNetwork®, Rian M. Hasson Charles, MD, MPH, FACS, spoke about her career in thoracic surgery and her visions for increasing equitable care in the field as part of a new, first-of-its-kind role at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She will serve as the inaugural vice chair for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in the Department of Surgery as well as an associate surgeon in the Division of Thoracic Surgery.

Hasson contextualized the acceptance of her new role by highlighting her previous experiences in lung cancer surgery, which included pursuing a psychology major at University of California, Berkeley and working as an attending physician at Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital. At Dartmouth, she formed a DEI program for the public health school and pursued initiatives designed to spread access to care for patients with lung cancer.

As part of her new role at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Hasson aims to reduce significant disparities in care across areas surrounding the academic center, grow a diverse workforce, and form connections with members in the community.

Hasson also described some of the barriers she experienced and overcame as a woman in oncology. She offered advice to other aspiring surgeons in the field, emphasizing the importance of paying attention to the family, friends, and partners who can support them during their journey.

“The world is your oyster. This position is a dream position for me because it’s bringing together everything that I love to do,” Hasson said.

“I encourage people to find their focus, find their passion, find the thing that keeps them up at night or that wakes them up in the morning. You can do whatever you set your mind to. With today’s resources, there should be nothing that limits you. There may be things that seem like they’re discouraging, but you have the power to overcome those and collaborate with people that will help generate success,” she added.

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