News Release

Wetter recognized for exemplary leadership in cancer equity initiatives

Grant and Award Announcement

Huntsman Cancer Institute

David Wetter, PhD


David Wetter, PhD

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Credit: Huntsman Cancer Institute

David W. Wetter, PhD, senior director for cancer health equity science at Huntsman Cancer Institute, director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Population Equity (HOPE), and a Jon M. and Karen Huntsman Presidential Professor in the department of population health sciences at the University of Utah (the U), has been awarded the prestigious Society of Behavioral Medicine Senior Investigator Award for Outstanding Contributions to Cancer Prevention and Control.

“I’ve been so fortunate to have the Society of Behavioral Medicine as one of my two primary professional homes for 30 years,” says Wetter. “This recognition is extremely meaningful and I am so grateful for the brilliant and passionate colleagues, mentees, and community partners with whom I have been able to collaborate to try and reduce health inequities. It is truly an honor and a privilege to work with such amazing people committed to making a real-world difference.”

Wetter’s work is renowned for groundbreaking strategies aimed at erasing gaps in cancer health care and overcoming distance as a disparity for rural populations. Throughout his career, he has been dedicated to enhancing health care accessibility and outcomes for underserved communities. His visionary approach has empowered him to transform basic and clinical research on risky behaviors into creative treatment methods which are then used in practical settings to advance health equity.

Some of his many accomplishments include significant contributions in evaluating nicotine replacement therapy, studying the impact of smoking on sleep disorders, implementing healthcare system changes for treating tobacco use, and innovating mobile health approaches for addressing cancer risk behaviors among disadvantaged populations. 

Through the Center for HOPE, Wetter has also established vital connections between researchers and community anchor organizations. Some of these groups include community health centers, primary care associations, state health departments, and educational institutions. Such collaborations have helped create projects targeting HPV vaccination, colorectal cancer screening, and tobacco use in Utah communities facing barriers. He has also built cross-academic alliances to overcome persistent poverty, working closely with partners at Montana State University and Native American tribes and nations.

This award celebrates those who have made substantial research strides and have significantly enriched our comprehension of cnacer while demonstrating unwavering commitment to enhancing health outcomes.

"Wetter's exceptional contributions to cancer health equity research exemplify the pinnacle of excellence at Huntsman Cancer Institute," states Neli Ulrich, PhD, executive director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Huntsman Cancer Institute and a Jon M. and Karen Huntsman Presidential Professor in Cancer Research at the U. "His visionary leadership and groundbreaking research not only elevate our understanding of cancer disparities, but also drive transformative change in the lives of medically underserved populations, including rural populations across the Mountain West. His unwavering commitment to advancing health equity embodies the core values of our institution, and we are profoundly grateful for his invaluable contributions to our mission.”

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