Executive Director, Cancer Prevention and Control Platform
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Dr. Garcia is executive director of the cancer prevention and control platform at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and a member of the leadership team for the institution’s bold Moon Shots Program, which aims to speed the translation of scientific discoveries into clinical and population-oriented advances that significantly reduce cancer deaths.
Under Dr. Garcia’s leadership, the cancer prevention and control platform implements and disseminates evidence-based, community-focused programs to advance cancer prevention, screening, early detection and survivorship. The platform provides policy, education and services to achieve a measurable and sustainable reduction in the cancer burden, especially in the underserved population for whom cancer and cancer risk factors predominate. This effort is taking what is known about diet, exercise, sun protection, tobacco avoidance, human papillomavirus (HPV) and cancer screenings beyond the walls of MD Anderson to reach people throughout Texas, the nation and the world.
Dr. Garcia is an internationally recognized health care leader with experience and success in a number of health care settings. He began his medical career as an obstetrician/gynecologist and then became the commissioner for the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health. After serving as the deputy director for the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization in Washington, D.C., he moved into the corporate sector. There he worked as a senior vice president and senior medical officer at Maximus Federal Services Inc.
President George W. Bush appointed Dr. Garcia as the 14th U.S. assistant secretary for health. At the same time, he was appointed as a four-star admiral for the United States Public Health Service and as the U.S. Representative to the World Health Organization. During this time, and as our nation’s highest ranking medical and public health official, Dr. Garcia led more than 6,220 U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers in the U.S. and 88 countries in the protection, promotion and advancement of health.
Following his government service, Dr. Garcia returned to his native Puerto Rico and served as the president and dean of medicine for Ponce School of Medicine and Health Sciences. In 2012, he moved back to Washington, D.C., to serve as the director and chief medical officer for the Washington, D.C. Department of Health and as a founding partner with Aegis Health Security, a global health care advisory firm. With Aegis, he helped create a health index to improve population health, including a reduction in the cancer burden.
Dr. Garcia has served on several boards of nationally recognized health care organizations, including the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the National Dialogue on Cancer. He has received numerous awards and honors including the Secretary of Defense Award for Exceptional Public Service, the U.S. Public Health Service Distinguished Service Award and honorary doctoral degrees from Carlos Albizu University in Miami, Florida, the Ponce School of Medicine in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and Universidad del Este in Carolina, Puerto Rico.