Dr. Eddie Méndez was a physician-scientist and cherished colleague at Fred Hutch who died of cancer in 2018 at age 45. An expert in head and neck cancers, Méndez was known for being passionate about developing new therapies to help prevent cancer treatment side effects and save his patients’ lives.
Méndez, a native of Puerto Rico, attended Princeton University and then obtained a medical degree from University of Maryland at Baltimore. He later came to University of Washington as a surgical resident, eventually spearheading minimally invasive robotic surgery for these tumors (he was the first in Washington state to perform such surgery.)
In 2019, Fred Hutch leadership created the Dr. Eddie Méndez Scholar Award to extend his commitment to supporting early-career scientists, particularly those from underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds. The award recognizes outstanding postdoctoral fellows from any discipline who are conducting cancer, infectious disease, or basic science research and individuals who are eligible are from backgrounds that are underrepresented in science based on the NIH definition.
Awardees present at a scientific symposium honoring Dr. Eddie Méndez and have the opportunity to meet with Fred Hutch faculty and senior leaders.
In May 2019, the first seven recipients of the award were named, coming from universities and cancer research centers around the U.S. They gathered at Fred Hutch’s campus in June of 2019.
Learn more about the inaugural recipients.
In May 2020, nine recipients of an award were announced. Their research interests include T cell therapies, cancer outcomes among HIV-positive patients, health disparities in American Indians, and acute myeloid leukemia therapies. The 2020 symposium was held virtually in November due to the COVID-19 pandemic.