Passing of Dawn Provenzale, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology

Thursday, April 22, 2021

The following message was sent to members of the Department of Medicine from Dean Mary Klotman, MD, and Kathleen A. Cooney, MD, MACP, chair of the Department of Medicine.

Dawn Provenzale, MDIt is with great sadness that we write to inform you that Dawn Tranchino Provenzale, MD, passed away on April 20, 2021. Dr. Provenzale was a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology. She also served as Director of the Cooperative Studies Program Epidemiology Center at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC).

A highly respected scholar, physician-scientist and mentor, Dr. Provenzale was a trailblazer in clinical research in gastroenterology and guided the careers of a generation of Duke trainees and faculty members. She was recruited to Duke in 1992. As one of the early pioneers in the field of outcomes research in gastroenterology, she joined the Durham VA's Health Services Research and Development (HSR&D) program. Through her research, Dr. Provenzale made important contributions to our understanding of colorectal cancer screening and surveillance, Barrett’s esophagus surveillance and the risk of esophageal cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease. 

Within a short time after her arrival at Duke, Dr. Provenzale initiated the first training program in health services research in gastroenterology in the United States.  Over the last 25 years, this program has trained numerous undergraduates, medical students, graduate students and junior faculty.  She was a gifted mentor, inspiring decades of students, trainees and faculty to pursue clinical research projects and careers. In 2019, she received the Duke University School of Medicine Research Mentoring Award for Clinical Science Research.  In 2020, the Duke Division of Gastroenterology established the Dawn Provenzale Mentorship Award in Gastroenterology in her honor.

Dr. Provenzale earned her BS degree in Nursing from Cornell University and her medical degree from Albany Medical College. She completed her residency training at the University of North Carolina and fellowships in Gastroenterology and Clinical Decision Making at New England Medical Center in Boston. In 1990, she completed a research fellowship at Tufts University and in 1991 earned her MSc degree in Epidemiology from Harvard School of Public Health. Among her many leadership roles, Dr. Provenzale served as chair of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Guideline Committee for Colorectal Cancer Screening.

Our thoughts go out to Dr. Provenzale’s husband, Dr. James Provenzale, Professor in the Department of Radiology, and their family and friends. We will share memorial service information when it becomes available.