News Release

February 6, 2004

Contact: Maureen McGuire, 860-679-4523

Dr. Carolyn D. Runowicz, Director of the UConn Comprehensive Cancer Center, Named Local Legend

Farmington, Conn. - The American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) has named Carolyn D. Runowicz, M.D., director of the UConn Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Connecticut Health Center, a 2004 “Local Legend.” Dr. Runowicz, and other physicians from throughout the country, will be honored during the annual meeting of the AMWA on February 6, in San Diego.

The Local Legends award is a new project of the AMWA, together with the National Library of Medicine and the U.S. Congress, to celebrate the lives and achievements of America’s women physicians. The award was designed to coincide with an innovative traveling exhibit developed by the National Library of Medicine to honor women physicians. Information about Dr. Runowicz and other recipients of the Local Legends award will be included in the exhibit.

Through the Local Legends initiative, the AMWA is recognizing highly accomplished female physicians from each of the 50 states. Nominations were made by Members of Congress.

In a unique situation, Dr. Runowicz was nominated twice - by both Congresswoman Nita Lowey of New York and Congresswoman Nancy Johnson of Connecticut, whose district includes the UConn Health Center in Farmington.

Until last fall, when she became director of UConn Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dr. Runowicz was based in New York City where she served as vice-chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital; director of gynecologic oncology research for the women’s health service line of Continuum Health Partners; and a professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She has also held academic positions at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.

However, Dr. Runowicz is not new to Connecticut. She is a Willimantic native and a graduate of the University of Connecticut in Storrs. In 2002, she was a recipient of UConn’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Dr. Runowicz’s decision to join the UConn Comprehensive Cancer Center is a major advance for the UConn Health Center as it expands its clinical and research programs in cancer care.

“I am enormously proud of the fact that Dr. Runowicz has ‘come home’ to Connecticut to lead the UConn Cancer Center and to serve as director of women’s health programs,” Congresswoman Johnson wrote in her nomination letter. “I applaud her creative, thoughtful contributions to medicine, especially cancer care.”

“Dr. Runowicz has pioneered new advances in gynecologic cancer care and is a leader in many prominent, national health organizations. She is a tireless advocate for women’s health,” added Peter J. Deckers, M.D., executive vice president for health affairs at the UConn Health Center.

Dr. Runowicz was recently named Second Vice President of the American Cancer Society and testified in early January before the President’s Cancer Panel. In addition, she currently serves on the National Cancer Institute’s Scientific Review Group and is also involved with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. She was the first woman president of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists and has been chair of the Gynecologic Committee of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP), a leading national organization in large-scale cancer research, since 1994.

The Local Legends traveling exhibit is scheduled to begin its three-year, nationwide tour in September. “The exhibit allows the Local Legends award to live beyond a one-time, one-day announcement,” said Meghan Kissell of the AMWA.

The AMWA was founded in 1915 when women were an underrepresented minority in medicine. Its goal is to promote the advancement of women in medicine and to serve as the unique voice for women’s health. For more information, visit

The National Library of Medicine, on the campus of the National Institutes of Health, is the world’s largest medical library. It collects materials in all areas of biomedicine and health care, as well as works on biomedical aspects of technology, the humanities, and the physical, life and social sciences. It is a national resource for all U.S. health science libraries.

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