Dr. Kathleen Cooney, a prostate cancer specialist from Utah, has been named the next chair of Duke's department of medicine. 

Cooney is the H.A. and Edna Benning presidential endowed professor and chair of the department of internal medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She will officially assume her new role at Duke Aug. 1, according to a press release from Duke Health. 

"I am very excited to be joining the Duke community!" Cooney wrote in an email. "What drew me to Duke was the opportunity to work at this exceptional academic institution which has regional, national and international impact. The Department of Medicine at Duke has a long and storied history of notable accomplishments in medicine and is comprised of extremely talented faculty, staff and trainees."

She noted her first priority will be meeting with her colleagues to understand their goals and challenges. The medical oncologist will succeed Dr. Mary Klotman, who left the position to become dean of the Duke University School of Medicine in July 2017. 

“Dr. Cooney is a preeminent academic leader recognized as an excellent clinician, scientist and educator,” Klotman said in the release.

Cooney moved to Utah in 2016 after serving as the deputy director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center and the division chief of hematology and oncology at the University of Michigan. She earned her medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1984. 

She has been an author on 140 peer-reviewed journal articles, and is currently an investigator on one grant from the National Institutes of Health and three grants from the Department of Defense. 

"I believe it is important to strive for excellence in all we do in medicine and I saw this same commitment in the department and in the institution during my visits to campus," Cooney wrote. 

She noted that Duke Health has "strong and aligned institutional leadership who are committed to supporting the tripartite mission of academic medicine: clinical care, research and education." That strong leadership values the department of medicine, she wrote, which will allow it to flourish.

Cooney's research specialty is the genetic epidemiology of prostate cancer. Her research has led to the identification of a recurrent mutation in the HOXB13 gene, which increases the likelihood of the disease and makes up approximately five percent of hereditary cases in the world. 

“She will bring the experience, knowledge and skills acquired over her distinguished 30-year career to steer our largest department into an exciting future," Klotman said in the release.