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In Memoriam: Beatrice Jara-Almonte Edwards, MD MPH

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We note with deep sorrow the death of Dr. Beatrice Jara-Almonte Edwards, an internationally known leader in bone health and osteoporosis whose career spanned more than 4 decades in multiple therapeutic areas, including palliative medicine, geriatrics, cancer and aging, and bone health and osteoporosis. At the time of her untimely death on February 17,2022, Dr. Edwards was the Deputy Associate Chief of Staff for Geriatrics and Extended Care at Central Texas VA and Professor at the University of Texas, Dell Medical School in Austin, Texas.

Dr. Edwards was born in Peru in 1963. Her father was a physician who encouraged her passion for medicine. Dr Edwards completed her medical training at Cayetano Heredia University in Peru and thereafter moved to the United States where she completed her residency in internal medicine at Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Medicine in Springfield, Illinois, in 1990. This was followed by a three-year clinical and research fellowship at St Louis University School of Medicine. Dr Edwards subsequently accepted a position as Director of Geriatric Education at St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago, Illinois where she was highly regarded. She was later recruited to Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in 1998 where she founded the Bone Health and Osteoporosis Program.  Dr. Edwards served as an Assistant Professor in the Division of Geriatrics, Department of Medicine at Northwestern and as the Medical Director of the Geriatric Evaluation Services. She was an esteemed mentor with a strong track record of assisting young investigators to become accomplished scientists.

Dr. Edwards was involved with local and regional medical educational campaigns to raise awareness about osteoporosis. She was a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) (Chicago) and Fellow of the American College of Physicians (ACP). Her research interests included gait and balance factors responsible for falls; in this aspect of her work, she collaborated with Dr. Mark Rogers of the then Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (now Shirley Ryan Ability Lab). Her work in osteoporosis was expansive, including postmenopausal osteoporosis, glucocorticoid induced osteoporosis, osteoporosis in males, and adverse reactions from the use of osteoporosis medications. Dr. Edwards developed an Osteoporosis and Fracture Intervention Program (OFIP) for her patients. She worked tirelessly to make enduring contributions to the science through teaching, mentoring, and presentation of her work both nationally and internationally and her name became synonymous with osteoporosis.

In 2010, Dr. Edwards moved to MD Anderson Cancer Center (MD Anderson) in Texas as an Associate Professor of Medicine. There she focused on comprehensive care of older adults undergoing active cancer therapy. Specifically, her research and clinical care focused on bone health in cancer survivors. She became a member of the Rolanette and Berdon Lawrence Bone Disease Program of Texas, a collaboration of Baylor College of Medicine and MD Anderson that focuses on treating complex bone disorders. The program brings together internists, endocrinologists, rheumatologists, and others to do translational research on safeguarding patients from fractures. Knowing that targeted cancer therapies like tamoxifen, aromatase inhibitors, and androgen deprivation medications increase patients’ risk of developing osteoporosis making them more susceptible to serious fractures of the hip, spine, and axial areas, she sought to strengthen societybased guidelines aimed at limiting the skeletal impact of cancer therapies.

Dr. Edwards joined the late Dr. Andrew Bunta on the Own the Bone project in 2010.1 This was a major honor, reflecting her growing reputation within the osteoporosis research establishment. Own the Bone is a systems-based intervention to improve osteoporosis care after fragility fractures. The strategy is to reduce the incidence of future fractures by modifying physician and patient behavior post fracture.2

Beatrice published more than 65 peer reviewed papers and was among the first researchers to publish on osteonecrosis of the jaw and the role of bisphosphonates in this progressive maxillofacial bone destruction. Additionally, she served on an expert panel convened by the  American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs and was lead author on a subsequently published manuscript with updated recommendations for dentists treating patients receiving oral bisphosphonate therapy.3

Dr. Edwards studied skeletal complications in cancer survivors, such as fractures and correlates for fractures after breast cancer, and incidence of fractures in solid and hematologic cancers. She received the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research Faculty Enhancement Award which allowed her to assess functional status and humerus fractures and their long-term outcomes. Notably, she was a constant and fearless champion of access to bone densitometry reaching out to congresspersons to agitate for coverage of this important diagnostic modality.

To be sure, Beatrice was an extraordinary colleague, friend, and mentor. She was short in stature, but bold and fearless in her advocacy for patients with osteoporosis. She inspired hard work and dedication in trainees pursuing bone mineral research in its clinical and translation contexts. Juxtaposed with her research was her love of equestrianism. She was singularly dedicated to her horse named Jackson. Beatrice is survived by her husband, Dave, and her two children, Gabriel, and Joshua.

She is deeply missed.


June M. McKoy, MD MPH JD MBA

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA


Allison Hahr, MD

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL USA


Folasade Mofoluso Ojo, MD

University of Texas Medical Branch, TX USA


Jennifer Rocio Delgado Felipa, MD

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL USA

Cayetano Heredia University, Lima, Peru


1. Bunta AD, Edwards BJ, Macaulay WB Jr, Jeray KJ, Tosi LL, Jones CB, Sietsema DL, Kaufman JD, Murphy SA, Song J, Goulet JA, Friedlaender GE, Swiontkowski MF, Dirschl DR. Own the Bone, a System-Based Intervention, Improves Osteoporosis Care After Fragility Fractures. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2016 Dec 21;98(24):e109.

2. American Orthopedics Association Own the Bone. Available at https://www.ownthebone.org/. Accessed April 21, 2023.

3. Edwards BJ, Hellstein JW, Jacobsen PL, Kaltman S, Mariotti A, Migliorati CA; American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs Expert Panel on Bisphosphonate-Associated Osteonecrosis of the Jaw. Updated recommendations for managing the care of patients receiving oral bisphosphonate therapy: an advisory statement from the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs. J Am Dent Assoc. 2008 Dec;139(12):1674-7. doi: 10.14219/jada.archive.2008.0110. Erratum in: J Am Dent Assoc. 2009 May;140(5):522.

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