2021 was yet another exceptional year for our communities, for our nation and for our mission to reduce death and suffering from cancer. Entering new phases of the COVID-19 pandemic demanded a remarkable level of flexibility and strategy as we continued to advocate at every level of government. Our responsibility to safeguard patients with cancer – many of whom face heightened risk of COVID-19 complications - and to do our part to boost rates for lifesaving cancer screenings that were delayed during the pandemic, were central themes throughout our advocacy agenda last year.
It comes as no surprise that through it all, ACS CAN volunteers rose to the challenge time and again with an enthusiasm to enact long-lasting change, an ability to pivot and transform the ways in which they advocated, and above all else demonstrating an unrelenting dedication to improving the lives of all those touched by the many diseases we call cancer. Our nationwide grassroots network remains ACS CAN’s most powerful resource and the driver of our success.
I was again proud of the meaningful progress ACS CAN achieved toward our goals to advance health equity for all communities. By partnering with lawmakers, civic leaders and organizations leading in this space, we prioritized efforts to address disparities in cancer care and health outcomes and helped center the voices of our diverse volunteers and partners. We ended 2021 even more resolute in our commitment to listening, learning, and taking action to ensure everyone has a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat and survive cancer.
Our significant accomplishments last year were supported by our passionate volunteers, generous donors and the many individuals and organizations that partnered with us along the way – partnerships for which I’m incredibly thankful, and look forward to deepening in 2022.
I am immensely honored to be at the helm of the nation’s leading cancer advocacy organization. Thank you to all who advanced our ever-important mission of improving the lives of people with cancer and their loved ones.
Lisa A. Lacasse, MBA
President, ACS CAN
For 20 years, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) has empowered volunteers to make their voices heard and influence public policy change that saves lives from cancer. In 2021, we achieved meaningful impact in our mission to improve the lives of people with cancer and their families nationwide by advocating at every level of government.
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for elected officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels by empowering advocates across the country to make their voices heard. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN staff work closely with American Cancer Society experts to identify and develop evidence-based public policies that promote access to prevention and early detection, treatment and follow-up care. ACS CAN is strictly nonpartisan and does not endorse, oppose or contribute to candidates or political parties. The only side ACS CAN takes is the side of people facing cancer and survivors.
We engage hundreds of thousands of remarkable individuals in every congressional district across the country to share their time, skills – and, importantly, their stories – to advance our mission to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN volunteers engage their elected officials through phone calls, emails, social media, letters and face-to-face meetings, and speak out in their communities, halls of the government and the media in support of public policies that help save lives from cancer.
We convene researchers, medical providers, patient advocates, business leaders and public officials to foster discussion and examine public policies that are critical in the fight against cancer.
We lead and partner with diverse and impactful organizations to advance our mission priorities and improve our reach among diverse communities across America. ACS CAN leads the One Voice Against Cancer Coalition (OVAC) to advocate for sustained cancer research funding and the Patient Quality of Life Coalition (PQLC) to advocate for expanded access to palliative care, and in 2021 we established the Patients and Caregivers for Paid Leave Coalition.
We work with attorneys who donate time and expertise to help advance our mission by representing ACS CAN in influential court cases, regulatory proceedings and legislative drafting to further mission goals. Learn more about our Judicial Advocacy Initiative.
We leverage the expertise and insight of our Board of Directors, which is comprised of physicians, researchers, public health professionals, civic leaders and volunteers.
Gary M. Reedy retired as CEO of the American Cancer Society (ACS) and ACS CAN after serving in the role since 2015. In the 20 years since Mr. Reedy first volunteered with ACS, he was a steadfast supporter of ACS CAN’s advocacy efforts, serving on our Board of Directors and later taking the helm as chair. ACS CAN is grateful to Mr. Reedy for his extraordinary leadership and service.
Karen E. Knudsen, MBA, PhD, stepped into the role of CEO in June 2021, the first female CEO in our history and the first scientific researcher to lead ACS since 1945. Dr. Knudsen understands firsthand the critical importance of public policy advocacy, working in tandem with accelerating discovery and expanding access to patient services, to advance our work to improve the lives of patients with cancer and their loved ones. She brings extensive experience from her roles as executive vice president of Oncology Services and enterprise director for Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health, and president of the Association of American Cancer Institutes.
2021 marked ACS CAN’s 20th anniversary, a meaningful milestone that allowed for collective reflection on all that our organization has achieved since 2001. For 20 years, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, access to quality, affordable care, and helped make restaurants, bars and workplaces smoke-free, significantly influencing the fight against cancer through our public policy advocacy.
View an infographic of our significant impact on the fight against cancer thus far, including:
While we hoped to celebrate in person in 2021, we found multiple ways throughout the year to unite virtually with volunteers and staff, past and present, to honor the last 20 years of ACS CAN:
ACS CAN prides itself on bringing together advocates, policymakers, regulators, researchers and health care professionals with a shared goal of improving public health and reducing the burden of cancer. Our ability to influence meaningful change at every level and every branch of government derives from the power of our nationwide grassroots volunteer network. ACS CAN advocates share their stories with elected officials to help them understand their role in our mission to eliminate cancer.
ACS CAN honored loved ones and all those touched by cancer during our 11th annual Lights of Hope event. For the second year, the Lights of Hope Across America virtual format allowed volunteers to bring hope home with 55,000 decorated tributes nationwide in hundreds of cities across all 50 states. The event represented a 10% increase in volunteer fundraising over 2020 and a 200% increase in sponsorships. The livestreamed event was broadcast from the National Mall in Washington, D.C., featured advocates nationwide and included remarks from: Sandi Cassese, ACS CAN Board Chair; Karen E. Knudsen, MBA, PhD, American Cancer Society and ACS CAN CEO; Jacqueline Beale, ACS CAN National Ambassador Team member; U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Roy Blunt (R-MO); and Chris Boerner, chief commercialization officer, Bristol Myers Squibb.
ACS CAN’s 15th annual Leadership Summit & Lobby Day (LS&LD) brought together virtually more than 500 volunteers from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia together virtually to meet with more than 450 congressional offices, including 100 member-level meetings and nearly 160 senior-level meetings.
Advocates asked lawmakers to support policy changes to increase affordability of insurance coverage; increase funding for critical cancer research and prevention programs; and support the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act, which would help Medicare patients access innovative screening technology once FDA-approved and clinical benefit is shown.
ACS CAN again pivoted many of our state lobby days to online engagement to ensure our volunteers’ voices were heard throughout 2021.
Access to quality, affordable health care is an essential piece of ACS CAN’s mission to reduce death and suffering from cancer. Insurance status directly impacts health outcomes, and existing disparities in cancer care are largely attributed to barriers in accessing health care services, including lack of adequate coverage. ACS CAN fights across the nation to break down these barriers and ensure everyone can access the health care they deserve.
In 2021, our volunteers spoke out on behalf of all those impacted by serious diseases like cancer and shared their stories to emphasize how crucial access to care is.
Among the most celebrated wins in 2021 was the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act. This long-awaited victory came after years of coordinated efforts by patient advocates to defend and strengthen the law, throughout which ACS CAN played an integral role by leading 19 organizations in filing amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs in this case. We were thrilled about this decision, which preserves the critical patient protections upon which so many Americans depend.
Expanding access to care through state Medicaid programs is a top priority for ACS CAN, particularly as the pandemic highlighted the critical need for more equitable access to care. Advances in 2021 included:
Innovative research, including by the American Cancer Society, continues to determine how new screening technology can test for many different types of cancers at once. This innovative science could lead to detecting cancer at earlier stages and give patients more treatment options and a better prognosis. ACS CAN led efforts to introduce and advocate for the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act, legislation that would lay the groundwork for Medicare to have a reimbursement pathway for multi-cancer early detection tests if approved by the FDA and shown to have clinical benefit – an important step toward our ultimate goal of increased access to care for all. Our advocacy efforts have garnered substantial bicameral and bipartisan support for the legislation.
ACS CAN launched a new advertising campaign in support of this legislation. Digital and print ads ran in Washington, D.C., as well as select markets nationwide, noting how this technology could revolutionize how we approach cancer screening.
We launched a nationwide multi-state campaign to educate lawmakers about the importance of expanding coverage of biomarker testing, an essential step in accessing precision medicine treatments. Despite its benefits and proven role in improving cancer outcomes, access to precision medicine has not kept pace with the rate of innovation, and disparities exist in which patients have access to these advancements. ACS CAN collaborated with more than 20 partner organizations to host 13 briefings for policymakers in targeted states to hear from patients and medical experts about this critical issue. ACS CAN led efforts to support the passage of first-in-the-nation legislation in Illinois to expand coverage of biomarker testing, a major win that we will continue fighting for in other states in years to come. ACS CAN also supported similar legislation in Louisiana to expand insurance coverage of biomarker testing.
Select 2021 accomplishments to increase access to and affordability of care included:
ACS CAN established the Patients and Caregivers for Paid Leave Coalition in 2021 to leverage ongoing conversations around creating a national paid leave program. We led the 36-member group in framing these discussions through the patient and caregiver lenses, and strongly advocated for the inclusion of a paid leave program in the Build Back Better Act under negotiation. An ACS CAN survey found that 74% of people with cancer and survivors missed work due to their illness, most of whom reported missing more than four weeks of work, so we’ll continue fighting for this important policy.
Many insurance plans have step therapy policies in place that require patients to try less expensive, potentially less effective drugs before the plan will cover their physician-recommended prescriptions. Not having timely access to treatment presents a particular challenge for patients suffering from life-threatening or chronic diseases like cancer.
Advancements in cancer research are essential to driving discovery, saving lives and advancing our fight against this disease. The ability to ensure innovative breakthrough reach those who need them most depends on sustained, year-over-year increases in funding for cancer research, as well as addressing barriers to clinical trial participation.
ACS CAN advocated throughout the year for sustained investment in cancer priorities across key federal agencies and state governments, emphasizing that flat funding would risk the significant progress we’ve made in the fight against cancer.
We were excited by the Biden administration's commitment to “end cancer as we know it” and the proposed Advanced Research Project Agency for Health (ARPA-H), a new agency likely housed within the National Institutes of Health that would be dedicated to accelerating the pace of biomedical research for rare and difficult-to-treat diseases like cancer. ACS CAN was invited several times to provide input on the structure and development of this important agency.
ACS CAN led advocacy efforts to introduce the bipartisan, bicameral DIVERSE Trials Act, legislation that would help increase diversity in clinical trials by allowing trial sponsors to reimburse patients for non-medical costs like travel, food and lodging. More than 150 organizations representing patients, providers and health equity advocates signed onto our letter of support to Congress, which has garnered significant bipartisan, bicameral support. ACS CAN also submitted comments on the introduced Cures 2.0 Act which included provisions to encourage diversity in clinical trials, as well as funding for ARPA-H.
A significant barrier to enrollment in clinical trials is simply identifying relevant trials. ACS CAN is leading community efforts to develop, test, and incentivize the use of more universal clinical trial eligibility screening. In 2021 the efforts resulted in expanded partnerships, technology development, and feasibility testing, with in-person piloting scheduled for 2022.
A significant number of cancer deaths can be prevented by fully leveraging the knowledge, tools and breakthroughs available to us today, including prevention and early detection tools. Another key piece of ACS CAN’s advocacy agenda is reducing the toll of tobacco use, our nation’s number one cause of preventable death. Select 2021 accomplishments include:
In May, the Food and Drug Administration announced its intention to prohibit menthol flavoring in combustible cigarettes and all flavors in cigars within a year, a long overdue step forward in reducing youth initiation and curbing Big Tobacco’s targeting of Black communities. The announcement was a direct result of a lawsuit against the agency filed by partner groups, which was based on a petition that ACS CAN and other groups filed with the FDA in 2013 and updated in 2021 as part of our years-long advocacy efforts urging the FDA to exercise its full regulatory authority over flavored tobacco products.
As a direct result of a lawsuit brought by ACS CAN and our tobacco control partners, in late summer and early fall the FDA finally began issuing decisions on whether to authorize certain e-cigarette products. Unfortunately, even under a court-ordered deadline, the agency has failed to make determinations on the products comprising the vast majority of the market, including JUUL’s flavored products. ACS CAN submitted evidence asserting that JUUL’s flavored e-cigarette products have greatly contributed to the youth tobacco epidemic, and we continue to urge the agency to issue decisions – especially after new data found that more than 2 million middle and high school students reported using e-cigarettes in 2021. At the end of 2021, ACS CAN also filed multiple amicus curiae (or “friend of the court”) briefs defending the agency’s decisions to take certain flavored e-cigarettes off the market when manufacturers sued to keep them on the shelves.
ACS CAN fought for improved tobacco control measures across the country in 2021. Highlights included:
Cancer screening saves lives by detecting disease early when it is easier to treat. The need for fully funded cancer screening programs was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, both due to many patients delaying preventive care and the number of people newly uninsured due to losing their employer-sponsored coverage. ACS CAN collaborated with the Institute for Medicaid Innovation on a that found eligibility for breast and cervical cancer screening programs increased in over 30 states in 2020 compared to 2019.
Cancer impacts everyone, but it doesn’t impact everyone equally. Significant disparities in cancer prevention, screening and treatment persist, meaning not every individual has an equitable opportunity to survive and thrive after cancer. ACS CAN holds a strong commitment to addressing these disparities and advancing health equity in communities nationwide. In 2021, we prioritized public policy changes that break down barriers to care and partnered with organizations leading this work across the country.
Successfully fighting cancer depends on access to timely, high-quality affordable health care, yet substantial disparities exist in certain communities’ ability to access the care they deserve. Learn more.
Research is critical to accelerating the fight against cancer, but barriers to participation mean that clinical trials do not accurately reflect the face of cancer in our country. Learn more.
Early detection of cancer through screening can reduce mortality from certain cancers, but inequitable access means certain individuals are more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage. Learn more.
We continue to see significant disparities in tobacco use by socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, educational level and sexual orientation, largely perpetuated by the tobacco industry’s predatory tactics. For example, tobacco use by adults with a household income less than $35,000 a year is double that of adults with an income greater than $100,000. Learn more.
ACS CAN, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and the National Minority Quality Forum joined together to present recommendations for policy and practice changes to overcome inequity in cancer care and directly address the disparities and racial bias experienced by communities of color as part of the Elevating Cancer Equity Project. Co-led by ACS Board Member, Robert Winn, MD, director and Lipman chair in Oncology of VCU Massey Cancer Center, these recommendations inform our future efforts to have more impact in reducing cancer disparities.
ACS CAN greatly values our ongoing partnerships with members of the Congressional Tri-Caucuses in our collective commitment to eliminate health disparities and drive action toward policy solutions.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact aspects of the health care continuum, including cancer screenings and other preventive care. An ACS CAN Survivor Views survey in June 2021 found that 1 in 3 (35%) people with cancer and survivors reported the pandemic affected their ability to access care, with 1 in 6 reporting a delay or interruption in their cancer screening schedule. The American Cancer Society launched a nationwide effort to restore and even exceed pre-pandemic screening rates, an effort that ACS CAN supported through public policy advocacy. This critical work has continued through the American Cancer Society Get Screened initiative.
ACS CAN urged Congress to protect and increase funding for the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP), the only nationally organized cancer screening program for breast and cervical cancer for people in the U.S. who are underserved. The NBCCEDP is highly effective at detecting and treating these cancers in a population that may otherwise not be screened, but, according to most recent data, less than 2 in 10 eligible people received screenings through this critical program.
One of the defining highlights of 2021 was the development and rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations. ACS CAN advocated that people facing cancer be prioritized in the vaccine distribution given their immunocompromised status.
A number of state legislatures considered harmful legislation that would undermine vaccine requirements that help protect immunocompromised patients including those with cancer. ACS CAN spoke out against these measures on behalf of the millions of individuals with chronic illnesses like cancer, and their families. As a public health organization, ACS CAN believes the health and safety of the patients we serve is our top priority, and we will continue to oppose efforts that undermine evidence-based, public health policies.
Anderson & Kreiger
King & Spalding
Morrison & Foerster
Bristol Myers Squibb
Exact Sciences Corporation
Merck & Co., Inc.
New Venture Fund
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
Eli Lilly and Company
Fight Colorectal Cancer
Biotechnology Innovation Organization
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
American Clinical Laboratory Association
Boston Children's Hospital
Cancer Center at Brown University
City of Hope
Daiichi Sankyo, Inc.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
G1 Therapeutics, Inc.
Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield
Inova Schar Cancer Institute
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Third Rock Ventures
Thomas Jefferson University
United States Pharmacopeia
USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
Amica Mutual Insurance Company
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
Empire Health Foundation
Harvard Medical School
Holy Cross Hospital
Idaho Society of Clinical Oncology
Karmanos Cancer Network
Landmark Medical Center
Massachusetts Biotechnology Council
Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
McLaren Health Care
Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center
Miami Cancer Institute
Moffitt Cancer Center Malignant Hematology & Cellular Therapy at Memorial Healthcare System
National Association of Chain Drug Stores
Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island
New England Laborers’ Health & Safety Fund
Oregon Oncology Specialists
PacificSource Health Plans
Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O’Gara, LLC
Penn Medicine Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Sellas Life Sciences Group
Society of Utah Medical Oncologists
Texas Society of Clinical Oncology
The Cancer Center at Tufts Medical Center
University of Virginia Cancer Center
VCU Health System Authority
Women & Infants Hospital
Dr. Richard Deming
Dr. Douglas Kelsey
John J. Manna Jr.
Omar Rashid, MD, JD
Dr. Bruce Waldholtz
John & Bridgette Alfonso
Benzel-Busch Motor Car Corporation
James & Kathleen Bond
Boston University – Boston Medical Center
Cassia County Fair & Rodeo
P. Kay Coleman
Dr. Margaret Drugay
e4h Environments for Health Architecture
Dr. Elizabeth Fontham
Dr. Lewis Foxhall
Hilary Gee Goeckner
Dr. Mark Goldberg & Dr. Ursula Kaiser
hodes & landy
Lisa Lacasse & Bruce Lesley
Dr. Scott & Mary Lippman
Dr. Donna Lundy
Massachusetts Society of Clinical Oncologists
Medical Oncology Association of Southern California
Dr. Karen Moffitt
Philip R. O’Brien
Providence Health & Services
Ujwala Deshmane Rajgopal, MD, FACS, FICS
Jose Ramos Jr.
Gary & Cindy Reedy
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
Emanuel & Marilyn Rouvelas
Mary Rouvelas & William Gould
Dr. Christy Russell
Dr. Stephen Sener
Gary & Susan Streit
Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Oncology
Allison Jones Thomson
Dr. & Mrs. Alan Thorson
University of Washington Medical Center
Dr. Shalini Vallabhan
Wake Forest Baptist Health
Washington State Medical Association
AARP Rhode Island
Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association
Alera Group Northeast
American Lung Association
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
Autumn Allen Your Real Estate Gladiator
Bank of Rhode Island
Bank on Buffalo
Benefis Health System
Betty & Smith
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island
Blue Cross of Idaho
Broward Regional Health Planning Council, Inc.
California Life Sciences
Cambridge Savings Bank
Carson Higgins Memorial Foundation
Catholic Health Services and Catholic Hospice
CharterCARE Health Partners
Cherry Tree Wealth Management
CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital
Cleveland Clinic Main Campus
Clinical Trials Education Network of Wisconsin
Columbus Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma
Cool Air, Inc.
Cornerstone Government Affairs
Covering Kids & Families Indiana
Dr. Kevin Cullen
George Diver Jr.
Dr. Nancy Duckles
F.L.Putnam Investment Management Company
Fairway Fast Mortgage
Dr. Mark Fleury
Geisinger Health System
Dr. Willie Goffney Jr.
The Honorable Maryellen Goodwin
Jennifer Hawks Bland
Health Forward Foundation
Dr. Enrique Hernandez
Hospital Sisters Health System
Dr. Barry Hummel Jr.
Illinois CancerCare, P.C.
Indiana Oncology Society
Iowa Biotechnology Association
Keesler Federal Credit Union
Keudell Morrison Wealth Management, LLC
Karen E. Knudsen, MBA, PhD
Leak Sealers, Inc.
Cynthia LeBlanc, EdD
Loftus Family Foundation
Kathy Ann Martin
McDermott Quilty & Miller, LLP
Medical Alley Association
Miami Beach Community Health Center
Minnesota Council of Health Plans
Mississippi Association of Health Plans
Mississippi Hospital Association
Montana State Oncology Society
Montana’s Credit Unions
John Mossberg Jr.
Mountain Health CO-OP
N&D Transportation Company, Inc.
Laura Nathan, PhD
Navigant Credit Union
Nebraska Oncology Society
Nova Southeastern University
Oak Ridge Associated Universities
Oregon Nurses Association
Oregonian Media Group
Perry Undem, LLC
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital
Dr. Marcus Plescia
Prisma Health System
Providence St. John’s Health Center
Public Opinion Strategies, LLC
R & R Tree Service
Rapides Regional Medical Center
Reser’s Cares Account
The River Church, Inc.
Riverside Medical Center
The RK Home Group
Robert Boissoneault Oncology Institute
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Saint Alphonsus Research Institute
The Seyboth Team Century 21
Dr. Laura Shawver
The Silverberg Family
Dr. Cardinale Smith
South Dakota Biotech
South Hampton Resources, Inc.
St. Luke’s Cancer Institute
Stephen A. Comunale Jr. Family Cancer Foundation
Dr. Tracey Stokes
Stowe & Degon, LLC
Tarplin, Downs & Young, LLC
Thompson Cancer Survival Center
UC Davis Health
UF Health Shands
University of Illinois Cancer Center
Dr. Michael Vasconcelles
Virginia Mason Medical Center
Walmart Super Center – Nampa
Washington Trust Wealth Management
Willmeng Construction, Inc.
Winning Connections, Inc.
Wolfe County Farm Bureau Insurance
The Wracher Family
WVP Health Authority
George Young III
Bioscience Association of Maine
Cary Medical Center
Cataldo Ambulance Service
CBC Federal Credit Union
City of Cullman Parks & Recreation Board
The Communication Center
Consultants In Gastroenterology, Columbia SC
Crowley Fleck PLLP Attorneys
Fidelity Brokerage Services, LLC
Fieldstone Family Homes, Inc.
Flince Research + Design
Gastrointestinal Associates, PC
Green Acres Landscape
Health Services, Inc.
Robert Henkle Jr.
Dr. Lars Heumann
Huggins Insurance Services, Inc.
Inland Valley Federal Credit Union
Iowa Cancer Consortium
Dr. Esther Jacobs
Bryte Johnson Jr.
Jonathan Hoff Memorial Shoot – Shootin’ For A Cure
Robert Kersh II
Knights of Columbus
Langco + Partners
Rose Marie Layman
Madland Toyota-Lift, Inc.
Joe Paul Mann
McClain Lodge, LLC
Montana Association of Health Care Purchasers
Montana BioScience Alliance
Mountain-Pacific Quality Health Foundation
Old National Bancorp
Mary Olsen Baker
Tamara Palmer Nance
Premier Surgical Associates, PLLC
Red Bluff Round Up Association
Red Threads, LLC
Resources for Change
The Summit Group of Oregon, LLC
Dr. Eric Taylor
Tennessee School of Beauty of Knoxville, Inc.
Teri’s Package Store
Bing Ching Sophia Tsai
Dr. Richard White Jr.
Willamette Orthopedic Group, LLC
Abe’s Trash Service, Inc.
Anderson Crocker Partners
Anthony Cafaro Jr.
Calvin Cagle Jr.
William Cance, MD, FACS
Carlino Law Associates
Chaney Family Dental
Charities Aid Foundation of America
E. Andrew Disabatino, Jr.
Dr. Susan Escudier
First Baptist Church of Fannin
Jeffrey Gagnon Sr.
Gastroenterology Specialties, P.C.
Dr. Alan Henderson
Margaret Houlihan Smith
Mary Ann Klefisch
Bethany Lane Wirin
F. Joseph Loughrey
Brian Keith McCormick
Colleen McGuire Schmitz
Moundsville Lions Club
Dr. Jean Paul
L. Scott Ritterbush
Dr. Carmen Sato-Bigbee
Dr. Marguerite Schlag
Jacky Sher Raker
William Sherman II
Dr. Ellen Stein
Swell Mix, Inc.
United Cancer Support Foundation
Wayne Wallingford Jr.
Dr. John Ziegler
Following are some of the individuals and organizations that helped make 2021 such a successful year for ACS CAN despite the challenges collectively faced by our country. We also extend a sincere thank-you to those not specifically mentioned here, as this list is by no means exhaustive, and to our colleagues to whom we had to bid farewell in 2021. Please know your contributions did not go unnoticed.
State Lead Ambassadors
Ambassador Constituent Teams
National Ambassador Team
ACS CAN Staff
American Cancer Society Staff
ACS CAN Board of Directors
Speakers at the 2021 Lights of HOPE Across America Ceremony:
The House Cancer Caucus
The Senate Cancer Coalition
ACS CAN’s efforts are supported by the work of attorneys who donate their time, services and specialized expertise as part of the Judicial Advocacy Initiative (JAI) to help advance our mission. Thank you to these individuals.
Bruce Merlin Fried
ACS CAN recognizes exceptional volunteers, staff members and elected officials throughout our annual Leadership Summit & Lobby Day.
The National Distinguished Advocacy Award (NDAA), which is ACS CAN’s most prestigious advocacy honor, is awarded to public officials for leadership in the mission to end cancer as a public health problem. The 2021 NDAA recipients were:
U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL)
U.S. Representative Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ)
State Senator Maryellen Goodwin (D-RI)
State Representative Mia Ackerman (D-RI)
State Representative Mary Flowers (D-IL)
Volunteer Award for Excellence in Advocacy*:
Michael Holtz, Tennessee
State Lead Ambassador of the Year:
Gloria Garcia, Florida
Butch Rivera, Florida
Ambassador Constituent Team Leads of the Year:
Carol Baker, California
Pearl Carter, Mississippi
Francina Booker, North Carolina
Donna Kemberling, Pennsylvania
Aditya Indla, California
State Advocacy Team of the Year:
Judicial Advocacy Initiative:
Joseph Palmore, Morrison & Foerster
*The Volunteer Award for Excellence in Advocacy, ACS CAN’s highest honor for volunteers, is presented annually to exemplary volunteers in recognition of outstanding leadership and continuous service in the area of advocacy and public policy.
Field Government Relations Professional of the Year:
Shana Crews, Illinois Government Relations Director
Field Grassroots Professional of the Year:
Audrey Miller, Oregon Grassroots Manager
American Cancer Society Partner of the Year:
Megan Wessel, Vice President, Cancer Control, Southeast Region
Regional Professional of the Year:
Maggie Osborne, Director, Grassroots Organizing
Alan Mills Award*:
Sister Maggie Lopez, Grassroots Manager, New Jersey
*The Alan Mills Award, ACS CAN’s highest honor for advocacy staff, is presented to the individual who best embodies the passion and dedication of the late Alan Mills, a former American Cancer Society staff lobbyist and one of the founders of the National Government Relations department.
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