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Dr. Claudia Henschke, Professor of Radiology at the Icahn School of Medicine, Receives the 37th Annual Alton Ochsner Award

Dr. Claudia Henschke, Professor of Radiology at the Icahn School of Medicine, Receives the 37th Annual Alton Ochsner Award

NEW ORLEANS – Ochsner Health has announced that the recipient of the 37th Annual Alton Ochsner Award Relating Smoking and Disease is Claudia Henschke, Ph.D., M.D. Director, Early Lung and Cardiac Action Program (ELCAP) and Professor of Radiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, N.Y.

This prestigious award is named after Alton Ochsner, MD, who co-founded Ochsner Health in New Orleans and published the first paper linking smoking and health in 1939. It recognizes scientists who have made major contributions to the relationship between smoking and disease and who have advanced the development of major prevention and treatment modalities.

“It is an honor to receive this award for my work in lung cancer screening,” said Dr. Henschke. “The ability to be able to detect early lung cancer by screening and change it from an essentially incurable disease to one with a high cure rate, saving countless lives, is a culmination of 30 years of work.”

Dr. Henschke pioneered the use of CT screening for lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death worldwide.

“I have had the rewarding experience of first introducing low-dose CT screening in 1992 when almost nobody really believed it would work, and then partnering with a global community of researchers known as the Early Lung Cancer Action Program (I-ELCAP). This has allowed screening to achieve mainstream acceptance,” she said.

“At Ochsner, we support pioneers who explore complex healthcare issues and develop innovative treatments relating to smoking cessation and disease prevention, because we know collaboration is a critical component of research and disease prevention,” said Leonardo Seoane, MD, Chief Academic Officer for Ochsner Health. “We commend Dr. Henschke’s dedication and passion to this important topic.”

Starting in 2001, Dr. Henschke’s I-ELCAP research consortium expanded to 80 national and international sites focused on developing the most effective diagnostic protocol. It was constantly updated to incorporate imaging advances and improve diagnosis of lung cancer at ever earlier and more curable stages.

Her research triggered randomized controlled trials in the United States and five other countries that have validated mortality reductions, leading to public and private insurance coverage here and abroad. Her advancements have saved countless lives.

“I am most grateful for the participants in the screening program as they made all these results possible. This worldwide team effort is my greatest joy and I am honored to have had such a dedicated team of collaborators and participants,” Dr. Henschke said.

Utilizing one of the largest collections of CT thoracic scans ever assembled, Dr. Henschke and her team continue to develop early identification of other smoking-related morbidities, such as coronary artery disease, emphysema, osteoporosis, and liver disease.

For a list of previous Ochsner Award recipients, click here:


About Ochsner Health

Ochsner Health is an integrated healthcare system with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate. Celebrating 80 years in 2022, it leads nationally in cancer care, cardiology, neurosciences, liver and heart transplants and pediatrics, among other areas. Ochsner is consistently named both the top hospital and top childrens hospital in Louisiana by U.S. News & World Report. The not-for-profit organization is inspiring healthier lives and stronger communities. Its focus is on preventing diseases and providing patient-centered care that is accessible, affordable, convenient and effective. Ochsner Health pioneers new treatments, deploys emerging technologies and performs groundbreaking research, including over 700 clinical studies. It has more than 34,000 employees and over 4,500 employed and affiliated physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties. It operates 40 hospitals and more than 300 health and urgent care centers across Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South; and its cutting-edge Connected Health digital medicine program is caring for patients beyond its walls. In 2021, Ochsner Health treated more than 1 million people from every state and 75 countries. As Louisianas top healthcare educator, Ochsner Health and its partners educate thousands of healthcare professionals annually. To learn more, visit