JAMES TURKSON, PhD, Professor in the Division of Medical Oncology in the Department of Medicine at Cedars-Sinai, is uniquely positioned for a new role developed at Cedars-Sinai Cancer: Director for Diversity, Inclusion, and Strategy. “I have great confidence that Dr. Turkson will provide superb leadership and implementation of programs, policies, and initiatives that enhance the diversity of our cancer center’s membership, leadership, staff, and trainees,” said Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, Director of Cedars-Sinai Cancer and the PHASE ONE Foundation Distinguished Chair.
James Turkson, PhD
Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD
Born and raised in Ghana, Dr. Turkson was the first person in his family to attend high school and college, which he did when his hard work earned him government scholarships. However, during his first semester in college, both of his parents died.
“My dad died from a stroke, and then my mom died from uterine cancer,” Dr. Turkson said. “I was lost. I didn’t even think I would stay in college, but friends, family, and teachers encouraged me to stay on. To honor my mom and all of those afflicted with cancer, I made it a mission to pursue cancer research to help find a cure.”
After completing his undergraduate degree, Dr. Turkson was awarded a fellowship to attend graduate school at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, where he earned a PhD in pharmacology.
“Living in different parts of the world and experiencing different cultures has been a valuable and rewarding experience,” Dr. Turkson said. “Local is now global. Every day, we work with colleagues in different parts of the world to work toward cures for different diseases, including cancer. I am elated and honored that Dr. Theodorescu asked me to take on this role, because I think I come at it from a very useful perspective.”