At the 17th Congress of the International Society of Behavioral Medicine, Dr. Penedo received the organization’s 2023 Distinguished Scientist Award.
Frank J. Penedo, PhD, devotes his days to thinking about new ways to help cancer patients and survivors live longer and healthier lives. As the associate director for Cancer Survivorship and Translational Behavioral Sciences at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Dr. Penedo remains ever humble. In direct contrast, his research is bold and impactful, replete with scientific insight that offers strategy and change for clinical practices. The International Society of Behavioral Medicine (ISBM) agrees.
At the 17th Congress of the ISBM, which took place Aug. 23-26 in Vancouver, Dr. Penedo received the organization’s 2023 Distinguished Scientist Award. The ISBM is a scientific society that serves the needs of all health-related disciplines concerned with the integration of psychosocial, behavioral and biomedical sciences.
The ISBM Distinguished Scientist Award Dr. Penedo received recognizes distinguished theoretical or empirical contributions to behavioral medicine. According to the ISBM, recipients of this award have made “several outstanding contributions to the science of behavioral medicine.” Of note, Dr. Penedo is one of only two researchers awarded the honor, and of the two, he is also the only scientist from the U.S.
“It’s such an honor to receive this prestigious award, and I am very humbled and grateful to the society, which has been one of my academic homes for the past 23 years,” said Dr. Penedo. “This recognition underscores my longstanding commitment to document how psychosocial and behavioral factors impact health outcomes, particularly in cancer, and how we can develop and implement psychosocial interventions to promote better health.”
Dr. Penedo, who serves on the NIH’s National Advisory Council on Minority Health Disparities, has long been at the forefront of behavioral medicine at the national and international levels. The ISBM award brings international recognition to Sylvester’s global impact via the research it produces.
The work Dr. Penedo does evaluates the role of sociocultural, biobehavioral and psychosocial mechanisms underlying disease activity and health outcomes. At the same time, Dr. Penedo studies the efficacy of evidence-based psychosocial interventions in promoting optimal chronic disease management and health outcomes in cancer. His research areas also include working with underserved groups, such as racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ individuals and rural residents, who have limited access to cancer care. Working within these very communities, Dr. Penedo studies how emotional, behavioral and cultural factors impact adaptation to cancer and its treatment, quality of life and overall health outcomes.
With a career spanning more than two decades, Dr. Penedo’s dedication to research has reshaped cancer survivorship. In addition to his professorship at the Miller School of Medicine and the College of Arts and Sciences, Penedo is a frequent guest speaker, has contributed to legislation to support cancer survivorship care and shares his knowledge willingly to translate his scientific research to applications in the clinical setting.