2024 Recipient — David Shalowitz, MD, MSHP

headshot of Dr. David Shalowitz, smiling

David Shalowitz, MD, MSHP

Clinician-to-Clinician Telemedical Consultation to Improve Rural Access to Gynecologic Cancer Care

Project Summary

Many patients with gynecologic cancer are not able to receive high quality care because they live far from specialists best able to treat them. When there is no easy way for rural doctors to send information for specialists to review, patients may be asked to travel for in-person visits. Long-distance travel for care is not possible for all patients, and can be expensive, uncomfortable, and strain caregivers. As a result, rural patients have inequitable access to care, making them more likely to die from gynecologic cancers.

The purpose of this project is to develop and test a telemedicine program allowing rural doctors to communicate directly with specialist gynecologic oncologists and review patient information together. Through this program, some patients will be able to avoid travel for a visit that can be managed closer to home, rural doctors will be able to treat patients with specialists’ help, and relationships between specialists and rural doctors will be strengthened, improving access for geographically underserved patients with cancer.

We are committed building this program for sustainability. As part of this project, we are using patients’, gynecologists’, oncologists’, and gynecologic oncologists’ input to guide workflow. Additionally, we will calculate the “value-on-investment” of this program, so that we can present the financial case to health systems for using clinician-to-clinician telemedicine to improve health equity for rural cancer patients.


David Shalowitz, MD, MSHP is a gynecologic oncologist and Director for Health Equity and Community Outreach at West Michigan Cancer Center Radiation & Surgical Specialties. Dr. Shalowitz attended medical school at the University of Michigan and completed his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Brigham and Women’s/Massachusetts General Hospitals. He then received subspecialty training in gynecologic oncology and a master’s degree in health policy research from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Shalowitz also completed a 2 year fellowship in clinical bioethics at the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Shalowitz is a nationally recognized researcher in ethics, health equity, and access to gynecologic cancer care, and is particularly invested in helping patients who live in rural areas in the United States overcome barriers to receiving high-quality cancer care. His current research priorities include the use of telemedicine to improve access to care, and the intersection between ethics and cancer care delivery. Dr. Shalowitz is a past Chair of the Committee on Ethics for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a member of ACOG's Board of Directors, and leads the Collaborative on Equity in Rural Cancer Care (CERCC), a national, multidisciplinary group of researchers committed to improving health equity for rural patients with cancer.