Patient Advocate Foundation and National Patient Advocate Foundation Mourn the Passing of Dr. Edith P. Mitchell

Scholarship to be Named in Her Honor

Patient Advocate Foundation and National Patient Advocate Foundation mourn the passing of Edith P. Mitchell, MD, MACP, FCCP, FRCP, who was serving as the immediate past president of the National Patient Advocate Foundation’s (NPAF) Board of Directors following a three-year term as president from 2020-2023. Dr. Mitchell’s contributions to oncology and health equity made her a luminary of American health care.


“We speak as patients, volunteers and advocates to celebrate the life of a great trailblazer,” said Alan Balch, PhD, chief executive officer of both PAF and NPAF. “Dr. Mitchell was an honored personal friend to many of us and a great supporter of our organization. She was a formidable intellect who cared deeply about patients and who mentored countless others over the course of her career. Because of her dedication to patient advocacy, we are honored to create a scholarship in her name.”


Dr. Mitchell joined the NPAF Board of Directors in 2018 and the PAF Board of Directors in 2019, serving on the scientific committee, policy committee, program committee and nominating committee. In 2020, noting her extensive record of leadership in the health care community and her service to the Air Force, Dr. Mitchell was asked to serve as NPAF Board president. In this capacity, she helped advance the organization’s initiatives launched in 2014 to address health inequities and social determinants of health, particularly with and on behalf of various racial and ethnic groups.


Throughout her career, Dr. Mitchell emphasized the importance of community service and outreach, especially for underserved and vulnerable populations. She was board-certified in internal medicine and medical oncology and was a clinical professor in the Department of Medicine and Medical Oncology at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. She was also the associate director for diversity affairs and the director of the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities for the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University.


Dr. Mitchell was a member of the NIH Council of Councils, served on the Tennessee State University Board of Trustees and was the editor-in-chief for the Journal of the National Medical Association. As a member of the National Cancer Initiative’s Blue-Ribbon Panel, she advised the National Cancer Advisory Board on Vice President Biden’s National Cancer Moonshot Initiative. She also served as the 116th President of the National Medical Association and on the board of directors for Geisinger Commonwealth Medical College. In 2013, she was inducted into the National Historical Black College Hall of Fame.


In addition to her medical achievements, Dr. Mitchell was a retired United States Air Force Brigadier General, having served as the Air National Guard Assistant to the Command Surgeon for U.S. Transportation and Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. General Mitchell was awarded over 15 military service medals and ribbons including the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Achievement and Commendation Medals, National Defense Service Medal, and Humanitarian Service Medal.


“Her passion for advocacy and for equity means her influence will continue for generations,” said Balch. “We extend our heartfelt condolences to her family and count ourselves grateful to have known her.”