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Jayanthi Lea, M.D., named Division Chief of Gynecologic Oncology

UT Southwestern Medical Center is proud to announce the appointment of Jayanthi Lea, M.D., as Chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, effective February 01, 2023.

Dr. Lea graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in biology. She earned her medical degree at East Carolina University School of Medicine and completed her residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Following a four-year gynecologic oncology fellowship at UT Southwestern Medical Center, she joined the UT Southwestern faculty. After a hiatus as faculty of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Carolinas Medical Center in North Carolina, Dr. Lea returned to UT Southwestern in 2010.

Dr. Lea is board-certified in both gynecologic oncology and obstetrics and gynecology. She has served as the Program Director of the Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship at UT Southwestern, where she oversees training for physicians who will be the cancer leaders of tomorrow. Many of these fellows have taken academic jobs upon graduation. Under her leadership, the Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship has achieved and maintained a reputation as a leading training program in the U.S., successfully preparing its fellows for a career in academic medicine.

Dr. Lea serves the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology in a multitude of ways. She is not only a subspecialty board examiner but also serves on the Gynecologic Oncology Qualifying Examination Subcommittee and on the Case Review and Differential Item Functioning Analysis Group. Additionally, she is a member of NRG Oncology, a cancer clinical cooperative group funded by the National

Cancer Institute. This cooperative group is made up of what were formerly the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, and the Gynecologic Oncology Group. Dr. Lea is a voting member of the Cervical Cancer and Ovarian Cancer Committees and a member of the Developmental Therapeutics Committee within NRG Oncology. Additionally, she is a member of the American College of Surgeons where she served as the North Texas Council  Representative for Gynecology. Dr. Lea is also an advisory board member of the National Ovarian Council Coalition and has been elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha national medical honor society.

In addition, Dr. Lea is extensively published, especially on cervical and ovarian cancer. As a scholar of the National Institutes of Health Reproductive Scientist Development Program, Dr. Lea investigated the molecular pathogenesis of cervical cancer. She played a major role in successfully establishing a clinically annotated ovarian cancer tumor repository, with matched normal and blood samples, to enable biomarker detection for early detection and treatment. Her research efforts were enabled through collaborations with scientists at the Hamon Center for Therapeutic Oncology Research, resulting in funding from CPRIT to establish and characterize cell-lines and xenografts derived from epithelial ovarian cancer. Dr. Lea continues to work on ovarian cancer early detection, with R01 funding to characterize the role of the immune system in the pathogenesis of ovarian cancer.

Most recently, Dr. Lea has been the physician champion of a developing multidisciplinary program at UT Southwestern for the care of women at risk for developing gynecologic malignancies. In collaboration with the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Cecil H. and Ida Green Center for Reproductive Biology, Dr. Lea will be recruiting clinicians, scholars, and clinical scholars to establish UT Southwestern as the destination of choice for gynecologic cancer care. While at the institution, Dr. Lea has contributed to clinical trial development with in cervical and ovarian cancer – which has led to changing the landscape in cancer outcomes for women with gynecologic cancer – and provided oversight on all clinical and translational studies within the gynecologic oncology disease-oriented team.

In her role as Division Chief of Gynecologic Oncology, she will lead the division in clinical, educational, and research excellence. She will also oversee the care of gynecologic cancer patients at both Clements University Hospital and Parkland Memorial Hospital. To expand our clinical service, she will develop and implement a strategic vision to enhance access to gynecologic cancer care at UT Southwestern.