by Matt Soergel
She was 5 years old when her grandmother, Ada Salmon, told her that she was meant to be a healer. At the time, she didn’t really know what that meant, but the words from her grandmother, a member of the Choctaw Nation, stuck with her. In her 30s, Judith Kaur did become a physician, a healer, as foretold by Ada Salmon. She’s spent the decades since devoting much of her career to improving health outcomes for American Indians, helping train native physicians and raising awareness of various health issues in often under-served communities, on reservations, in cities, and in the wilds of Alaska. Her concentration: Cancer, which for generations was an often overlooked and untalked about disease among Indians… Kaur is director of the National Cancer Institute’s Spirit of Eagles program, which tries to increase awareness of cancer and improve outcomes among American Indian communities. She’s also medical director of Native American programs at the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Context: Judith Kaur, M.D. is the medical director for the Native American Programs in the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. Dr. Kaur is involved in national research and outreach programs to American Indians and Alaska Natives. Her research includes a special interest in women's cancers — particularly breast and cervical cancers. She was the principal investigator for a molecular markers study in breast cancer in American Indian and Alaska Native women and also a mammographic and clinical risk factor-analysis study. You can read more about her research here.