Dennis Deapen, PhD

Dennis Deapen, PhD is Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. He has been Director of the Los Angeles Cancer Surveillance Program (CSP), the population-based cancer registry for Los Angeles County since 1988. The CSP functions in the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and is also a member of the California Cancer Registry and the National Cancer Institutes Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program. He is also Associate Director of Cancer Prevention and Control for the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and serves on the Steering Committee of the adolescent and young adult cancer program AYA@USC.

Category of Humanitarian Benefit: Knowledge Sharing

Short Biography/Background

Dr. Deapen received a Master of Public Health (epidemiology) degree from Loma Linda University and Doctor of Public Health (epidemiology) degree from the University of California Los Angeles. He has been an epidemiologist since 1977 conducting research in etiology, prevention and survivorship of cancer. He has created or led large, long-term cohort studies of cancer risk including the first and longest (34 year) study of women undergoing augmentation mammoplasty.

He is a founding investigator of the 133,000 member California Teachers Study, the 17,000 twin pair International Twin Study and Director of the Childhood Oncology Groups national Long-term Follow-up Center. He has been author or co-author of over 160 peer-reviewed publications, reviews, editorials and book chapters. He served as President of North American Association of Central Cancer Registries as well as many years on the Board of Directors and as a member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Cancer Registries of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). He has developed and introduced methodologic advances for population-based cancer surveillance systems and registry-based research.

Project Name and Description

Dr. Dennis Deapen leading and transforming the cancer landscape through sharing data. One of his current work is focused on infrastructure to enable federation among pediatric data repositories by developing better ways to collect and store multiple types of research and clinical data for investigators and clinicians to use. Additionally, build a federated data framework. In general, better data collection and interconnected data repositories—would create a cancer data ecosystem for childhood and adolescent and young adult cancers that ensures data are findable and usable in a meaningful way.


An overarching theme of the Childhood Cancer Data Initiative (CCDI Symposium was the “need for an infrastructure to enable federation among disparate pediatric data repositories” and “thinking big”. Dr. Deapen team’s big idea is to create a National Virtual Childhood Cancer Registry which includes every childhood cancer patient in the nation. This can be created now, employing emerging demonstratively successful technologies to connect existing and populated national databases such as the Virtual Pooled Registry – Cancer Linkage System with all state cancer registries in an automated and secure manners. Such infrastructure could be augmented with clinical, treatment and outcome data, through regular individual and secure linkages with national databases, producing an increasingly broadening comprehensive and population-based central data resource for childhood cancer research.


Share and translate data into knowledge and use this knowledge to improve health through prevention, treatment, health policy which all effect our quality of life positively.