Melinda C. Aldrich, PhD, MPH, is an Associate Professor in the Division of Genetic Medicine in the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She conducts cutting-edge research to inform the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of lung cancer for all populations. Her work encompasses two primary areas of focus: 1) understanding genetic, environmental, and social determinants of health contributing to disparities in lung cancer risk and outcomes, and 2) addressing inequities in lung cancer screening, with an emphasis on African American and rural populations.
The research conducted in Dr. Aldrich's lab uses large-scale population-based cohorts, biobanks linked to electronic health records, as well as collaborations with international consortia. Collaborative efforts are underway with national colleagues to investigate the genetics of immunotherapy treatment among lung cancer patients, to assess the impact of structural racism on lung cancer inequities, and to identify barriers and facilitators to recruitment of underrepresented populations to lung cancer clinical trials. Additional ongoing work includes investigating the population genetics of African American populations. Dr. Aldrich leads a lung cancer focused community advisory board to spearhead community-engaged dissemination strategies addressing inequities in the early detection of lung cancer. Her research findings have played a pivotal role in shaping key guidelines for lung cancer screening issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).
Dr. Aldrich serves on the Board of Directors and holds major leadership roles in national and international organizations: American Society of Human Genetics, the American College of Epidemiology, the American Thoracic Society, the International Network for Epidemiology in Policy, the International Lung Cancer Consortium, and the International Study for the Association of Lung Cancer. She will serve as the President of the American College of Epidemiology from 2023-2024.