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Anne P. (Pelizzoni) Lanier, M.D.

Photo of Anne P. (Pelizzoni) Lanier, M.D.
19402017
Biography

As a family practice physician, medical epidemiologist, researcher, and administrator Anne Lanier has spent a lifetime promoting health and wellness among Alaska Native people. Her career in Alaska began in 1967 when she arrived at the Alaska Native Medical Center and she saw many young Alaska Native people dying of cancer. She asked why, and finding no answers she sought them herself.

By 1974, 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. 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 has published hundreds of peer-reviewed articles so others can review her conclusions.

Lanier continued to be a pioneer through her public health career. She was the first female director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Arctic Investigations Program. She established the Alaska Native Epidemiology Center, and later created the Alaska Native Health Consortium’s Office of Alaska Native Health Research. Lanier conducted medical research for the State of Alaska, Alaska Native Medical Center, Centers for Disease Control, and the University of Alaska Anchorage.

She has been nationally recognized for her accomplishments. In 1982, Lanier became a Fellow of the American Board of Preventative Medicine. In 2011, she received the Inaugural Carol Frieden Award for Extraordinary Leadership in Comprehensive Cancer Control from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Indian Health Service, Alaska Department of Health and Human Services, and the Alaska Public Health Association have recognized her, as well.

Lanier has mentored several generations of health researchers. One, Melanie Cueva recounts, “I was hired to work on a six-month breast health project that turned into almost two decades of collaboration. Anne has become a mentor to my daughter who is working on doctorate degrees at Harvard in public health and nutrition.” To encourage Alaska Native young people in the health profession, Lanier personally funds a scholarship at the University of Alaska Anchorage for those pursuing master’s degrees in public health.

Dr. Lanier was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania. After graduating from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin in 1962, Lanier got her M.D. from Washington University School of Medicine and a Masters of Public Health degree at the University of Minnesota. She did an internship at Presbyterian Hospital in Denver, Colorado before taking her first job in Alaska. Lanier has three children and five grandchildren. She is a reader, skier, kayaker, and traveler. Of her travels, those to the Galapagos Islands have been especially fascinating.

Alaska journalist Lael Morgan met Lanier in the 1960s and followed her career: “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.

Induction ceremony acceptance speech https://youtu.be/X339qVoNvgk

Anne Lanier obituary PDF

Notes

As a family practice physician, medical epidemiologist, researcher and administrator, Anne Lanier has worked to improve health among Alaska’s Native people since 1967. Starting as a physician at the Alaska Native Medical Center, she saw too many young Alaska Native people dying of cancer. She asked why and, finding no answers, she determined to seek them.

In 1974 Lanier created the Alaska Native Tumor Registry, one of 18 National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results registries, to determine cancer rates and patterns throughout the U.S. Her data-driven research has led to dramatic declines in incidence and mortality rates in pediatric liver and cervical cancer among Alaska’s Native people. She always published her data so others could review her conclusions.

Lanier was the first female director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Arctic Investigations Program. She initiated the Alaska Native Epidemiology Center and later created the Alaska Native Health Consortium’s Office of Alaska Native Health Research. Lanier currently is a consultant for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium in Anchorage.

In 1982 Lanier became a Fellow of the American Board of Preventative Medicine. In 2011 she received the inaugural Carol Frieden Award for Extraordinary Leadership in Comprehensive Cancer Control from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

After graduating from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., in 1962, Lanier earned her M.D. degree from Washington University School of Medicine in 1966 and completed a Masters of Public Health degree at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in 1975. She did an internship at Presbyterian Hospital in Denver, Colo., before taking her first job in Alaska. Lanier has three children and five grandchildren. She is a reader, skier, kayaker, and traveler. She has mentored several generations of health researchers and personally funds a scholarship at the University of Alaska Anchorage for those pursuing master’s degrees in public health.

Induction ceremony acceptance speech https://youtu.be/X339qVoNvgk