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American Cancer Society and ACS CAN Applaud Reports of Newly Named National Institutes of Health Director

April 20, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 20, 2023 According to multiple news reports, President Biden has nominated Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD, to serve as the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This role is critical to ensuring ongoing innovation in medical research, including in oncology, and Bertagnolli could not be a better choice to lead the NIH into the bold future. In addition to previously holding many professional memberships and appointments, Bertagnolli also served on the American Cancer Society (ACS)’s Board of Directors.

“In her 7-month tenure as National Cancer Institute Director, Dr. Bertagnolli quickly demonstrated her strategic and comprehensive approach to accelerating progress in cancer prevention, detection and treatment,” said Dr. Karen E. Knudsen, CEO of ACS and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “Among her accomplishments in the last half year, Dr. Bertagnolli released a robust National Cancer Plan, laying out an inspired roadmap to advance the Cancer Moonshot Initiative, to end cancer as we know it.”

Prior to joining NCI, Dr. Bertagnolli was at Harvard University for more than two decades. At Harvard Medical School, she held the position of the Richard E. Wilson Professor of Surgery in the Field of Surgical Oncology. She was also a member of the Gastrointestinal Cancer and Sarcoma Disease Centers at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.  

“ACS and ACS CAN strongly support this choice as the next NIH director. Dr. Bertagnolli is not only an exceptional surgical oncologist, innovative scientist, and leader with a strong track record of transforming organizations, she also has firsthand knowledge of the patient perspective as well,” said Knudsen. “Dr. Bertagnolli understands not only the importance of advancing discovery but the criticality of ensuring that innovation is accessible to all. A fierce advocate for addressing healthcare disparities, particularly in underserved and rural communities, she played a key role in helping to advance the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)’s work on Medicaid expansion.”

Dr. Bertagnolli’s experience collaborating across the medical oncology, radiation oncology and pathology fields and expertise in clinical trials will all benefit work across the institutes.  

“We anxiously await the formal announcement from President Biden for this outstanding choice and look forward to working with Dr. Bertagnolli toward our shared vision to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. ACS and ACS CAN value our relationship and partnership with the NIH in aligning priorities around research that is intended to improve the lives of all those across this country, including cancer patients and their families,” Dr. Knudsen said. “We urge swift confirmation by the Senate as ACS and ACS CAN look forward to working with Dr. Bertagnolli to continue the essential research necessary to ensure everyone has a fair and just opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer.”

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Media Contacts

Alissa Crispino
SVP, Advocacy Communications and Policy