Dr. Anne Lanier, pioneer in Alaska Native cancer research, inducted into Alaska Women’s Hall of FameApril 1, 2016
Dr. Anne Lanier, a longtime public health pioneer, dedicated clinician and mentor, was recently inducted into the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame. Dr. Lanier began her career in Alaska in 1967 at the Alaska Native Medical Center.
As a family practice physician, medical epidemiologist, researcher and administrator, Dr. Lanier has spent a lifetime promoting health and wellness among Alaska Native people. She saw many young Alaska Native people dying of cancer. She asked why, and after finding no answers, sought them herself.
By 1974, Dr. Lanier had created the Alaska Native Tumor Registry that collects information about Alaska Native people diagnosed with cancer. Her registry has become one of 18 registries used by the National Cancer Institute to determine cancer rates and patterns throughout the U.S. Dr. Lanier’s data-driven research had led to dramatic declines in incidence and mortality rates in colorectal, pediatric liver, and cervical cancer among Alaska Native people.
She also established the Alaska Native Epidemiology Center, and later created the Alaska Native Health Consortium’s Office of Alaska Native Health Research. Dr. Lanier conducted medical research for the State of Alaska, Alaska Native Medical Center, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Her achievements in cancer research and health advocacy have influenced many other health researchers. To encourage Alaska Native young people in the health profession, Dr. Lanier personally funds a scholarship at the University of Alaska Anchorage for those pursuing master’s degrees in public health.
Alaska journalist Lael Morgan met Dr. Lanier in the 1960s and followed her career, saying “She was way ahead of her time doing what she did for Alaska Native children. Dr. Lanier has never stopped asking ‘why’ and has not stopped being an advocate for improved health for Alaska Native people.”
During her more than 45-year career, she has met her goals to define and reduce the health disparities of Alaska Native people and to greatly improved health care in the state. We extend our sincere thanks to Dr. Lanier for her work on behalf of our people.