Donatus U. Ekwueme, PhD, MS
Dr. Donatus U. Ekwueme is the Senior Health Economist in the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (DCPC), National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the past 20 years, Dr. Ekwueme has used state-of-the-art economic principles and methods to conduct health and health policy research on domestic and international public health programs in several national centers within CDC.
Dr. Ekwueme serves as the senior health economist in DCPC. In this role, he leads DCPC’s efforts to use microeconomic principles and methods to address the economic burden of cancer and identify approaches to minimize its effect on patients, their families, and the population in the United States and other countries. Dr. Ekwueme led the development of a cost assessment tool to evaluate and estimate the economics of national cancer prevention and control programs for medically underserved low-income populations. He uses modeling techniques to understand the association between economics, exposure factors (genetic, biological, environmental, occupational, and behavioral), and cancer prevention and control. He provides easy-to-understand economic cost information to help public health leaders make informed decisions on the most effective and efficient methods of allocating health care resources.
Dr. Ekwueme collaborates with CDC’s global and domestic partners. He served as a consultant to the World Health Organization and worked in several sub-Saharan African and English-speaking Caribbean countries conducting health economics research in communicable and non-communicable diseases. He is a member of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study Network. In domestic research, Dr. Ekwueme represents CDC in the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Experiences with Cancer Survivorship Supplement. The supplement is a collaborative effort to improve publicly available data for estimating the burden of cancer in the United States. He is a founding member of the interagency consortium to promote health economics research on cancer (HEROiC).
During CDC’s COVID-19 emergency response, Dr. Ekwueme served on two task forces. On the Community Intervention and Critical Populations Task Force, he served as a deputy team lead, acting science lead, and the administrative and management officer. He directed research to address critical questions on measures to reduce COVID-19 spread in communities. On the Chief Health Equity Officer Task Force, he led the development of the economic indicators workbook and scientific manuscripts on the economic effects of COVID-19 on racial and ethnic groups and the general population.
Dr. Ekwueme has authored or co-authored more than 145 scientific publications and reports in peer-reviewed journals. His work has received media coverage and appeared in top public health, clinical, and policy journals. Selected media coverage of Dr. Ekwueme’s research includes—
- The cost of cancer: 25% of survivors face financial hardship, report finds (CNN)
- What Cancer Costs You Later: $4,000 a Year (NBC News)
- U.S. cancer survivors face economic burdens due to growing medical costs, productivity losses (News-Medical.net)
- Cancer Survivors Face Mounting Costs of Continuing Medical Care: Study (HealthDay)
He also serves as a reviewer for several scientific and biomedical journals and is a member of national and international professional societies that focus on public health and cancer. His contributions to public health have been recognized with numerous nominations and awards, including the CDC Honor Award for Excellence in Prevention for outstanding contributions in quantitative science.
Dr. Ekwueme has Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in economics from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. He completed post-doctoral training in preventive effectiveness in public health at CDC.
Some of the most recent articles Dr. Ekwueme has authored or co-authored include—
- 2022 Health economics research in primary prevention of cancer: assessment, current challenges, and future directions.
- 2021 Projecting the prevalence and costs of metastatic breast cancer from 2015 through 2030.
- 2021 The estimated lifetime medical cost of diseases attributable to human papillomavirus infections acquired in 2018.
- 2021 Engaging community health workers to increase cancer screening: a Community Guide systematic economic review.
- 2021 A framework for cancer health economics research.
- 2021 A comparison of general, genitourinary, bowel, and sexual quality of life among long term survivors of prostate, bladder, colorectal, and lung cancer.
- 2020 Cost-effectiveness of HPV vaccination for adults through age 45 years in the United States: Estimates from a simplified transmission model.
- 2020 Productivity costs associated with metastatic breast cancer in younger, midlife, and older women.
- 2020 Estimating the impact of increasing cervical cancer screening in the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program among low-income women in the USA.
- 2020 Patient-provider discussions about out-of-pocket costs of cancer care in the U.S.
- 2020 Medical costs associated with metastatic breast cancer in younger, midlife, and older women.
- 2020 Staying at one’s job to maintain employer-based health insurance among cancer survivors and their spouses/partners.
- 2020 Utilization and cost of mammography screening among commercially insured women 50 to 64 years of age in the United States, 2012–2016.
- 2019 Public health efforts to address mental health conditions among cancer survivors.
- 2019 Annual out-of-pocket expenditures and financial hardship among cancer survivors aged 18-64 years—United States, 2011–2016.
- 2017 Estimation of breast cancer incident cases and medical care costs attributable to alcohol consumption among insured women aged < 45 years in the US.
- 2016 The economics of breast cancer in younger women in the U.S.: the present and future.
- 2016 Treatment costs of breast cancer among younger women aged 19–44 years enrolled in Medicaid.
- 2016 Productivity costs associated with breast cancer among survivors aged 18–44 years.
- 2015 Health and economic burden of breast cancer mortality in younger women aged 18–44 years in the United States, 1970–2012.
- 2015 Early prevention and screening of cervical cancer in a developing country: reply.
- 2014 Cost of services provided by the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.
- 2014 Impact of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program on cervical cancer mortality among uninsured low-income women in the U.S., 1991—2007.
- 2014 Medical costs and productivity losses of cancer survivors—United States, 2008–2011.
- 2014 Analysis of the benefits and costs of a national campaign to promote colorectal cancer screening: CDC’s Screen for Life National Colorectal Cancer Action Campaign.
- 2013 Health and economic impact of breast cancer mortality in young women, 1970–2008.
- 2013 An exploratory analysis of the benefits and costs of a national campaign to promote colorectal cancer screening: CDC’s Screen for Life: National Colorectal Cancer Action Campaign.
- 2011 The health burden and economic costs of cutaneous melanoma mortality by race/ethnicity—United States, 2000 to 2006.
- 2008 Cost analysis of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program: selected states, 2003 to 2004.
- 2008 Estimating personal costs incurred by a woman participating in mammography screening in the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.
- 2008 Years of potential life lost and productivity costs because of cancer mortality and for specific cancer sites where human papillomavirus may be a risk factor for carcinogenesis—United States, 2003.
- 2007 Cost analysis of screening for, diagnosing, and staging prostate cancer based on a systematic review of published studies.
- 2002 Model-based estimates of risks of disease transmission and economic costs of seven injection devices in sub-Saharan Africa.
His publications list is available in PubMed or Google Scholar.