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B.J. Rimel, MD, Named Medical Director, Cancer Clinical Trials Office

Cedars-Sinai Cancer Gynecologic Oncologist Will Assist Principal Investigators and Streamline Clinical Trial Patient Enrollment

Prominent gynecologic oncologist and surgeon B.J. Rimel, MD, recently was named medical director of the Cedars-Sinai Cancer Clinical Trials Office. She will serve as a medical liaison between clinical trial principal investigators and Cedars-Sinai Cancer leadership to ensure the quality of services provided to patients.

Rimel, an associate professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Cedars-Sinai Cancer, also will evaluate principal investigator education to keep researchers up to date with regulatory conduct, and she will serve as the clinical trials spokeswoman for Cedars-Sinai Cancer.

“To be able to get this position from within the institution is incredibly meaningful to me,” Rimel said. “It is the culmination of extensive mentorship, and deep faith that the path I’ve chosen as a physician and an investigator has been the right one.”

That path began at Duke University School of Medicine, where Rimel earned her medical degree, followed by her residency at Northwestern University Medical School, and a fellowship at Washington University School of Medicine.

“I was lucky to go straight from the fellowship to the role of principal investigator for our site on national clinical trials,” Rimel said. The clinical trials in the gynecologic oncology division studied the effectiveness of combinations of targeted drugs for the treatment of ovarian and other gynecologic cancers. Participation on these trials led to U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of two drugs.

Rimel joined the Cedars-Sinai Cancer faculty as a staff physician in 2011. In 2012, she was named associate director of Gynecologic Oncology Clinical Trials. Her research focuses on clinical trial accrual, recruitment, and informed consent. She helped create an online portal to streamline the clinical trial consent process and improve patient enrollment.

In her new position, Rimel will tap her deep clinical trial research experience to help investigators overcome hurdles that inevitably arise.

“I am the person responsible for making sure our clinical trial ‘ducks’ are in a row,” Rimel explained. “Medical questions come up as trials advance, and I will help investigators deal with those issues.”

In addition to her clinical and research roles—she currently is the principal investigator on 14 clinical trials—Rimel has established consulting relationships with tech companies that obtain and analyze data about cancer patients to improve clinical trial equity. She also recently presented at a congressionally requested conference on the scope of cervical cancer treatment disparities in the U.S.

Rimel has presented more than 100 lectures, posters and abstracts at symposia and conferences. Her talks focus on improving women’s participation in clinical trials, as well as ovarian cancer prevention and screening. She has authored, co-authored, or participated in more than 50 peer-reviewed publications.

In 2013, Rimel was honored with the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Golden Apple Faculty Teaching Award, and in 2015, she received the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology National Faculty Award.

“With Dr. Rimel’s appointment, we have an expert who will deftly lead the medical center’s efforts to streamline patient access to clinical trials,” said Robert A. Figlin, MD, deputy director of Cedars-Sinai Cancer. “The community and health system now have a strong advocate who will promote high-quality, high-impact opportunities for cancer patients’ continuing care at Cedars Sinai.”

Read about clinical trials on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: First Person: I Joined a Clinical Trial—Here’s Why and How It Went