If work kept you from watching Tuesday afternoon's livestream from our Nationwide Staff and Volunteer Summit in Dallas, the replay of the presentations by CEO Gary Reedy, Len Lichtenfeld, MD, our acting chief medical officer, and Rich Wender, MD, our chief cancer control officer, are now available. (Please note that the replay begins 7 minutes in.) You'll find a recap of their remarks below.
Also available is the replay featuring the panel discussion on "Reimaging the Volunteer Staff Partnership" with volunteers Kyle Polke, Heddie Sumpter, and Melissa Park, and Shanna Lee, senior volunteer engagement manager at ACS. Also in this segment is the presentation of the 2019 Volunteer Leadership Award. This year's recipients are Diana Diaz, RN, MS, of Tennessee and Heddie Sumpter of Florida. Read more about them here.
Last, but not least, here is the replay of the final remarks of the evening, outgoing Board Chair Kevin Cullen's summary of the past year, and the introduction of our 2019 Board Chair Dan Heist, CPA. (This replay begins 11:45 minutes in.)
A recap of ACS leaders' presentations follows:
Gary announced the great news that we exceeded our 2018 revenue goal, and he gave a big shout out to the Northeast Region volunteers and staff and its EVP Kris Kim "for leading the way." He also gave a personal shout out to Chris Hansen, who is retiring as president of ACS CAN on Feb. 1. "He has been a trusted friend, advisor, and mentor to me, and I have learned so much from being in Chris's presence," Gary said.
Among other 2018 achievements, Gary cited:
- Launching the Cancer Control Blueprint and publishing five chapters of it
- Increasing colorectal cancer screening rates and introducing new colon cancer guidelines that lower the screening age to 45
- Launching our Mission: HPV Cancer Free campaign
- Increasing the number of patient rides to treatment by 38%, to 475,000
- Making great progress toward the 2019 launch of Navigation Tools
- The onboarding of 7,300 new volunteers
- Launching BrightEdge Ventures, our philanthropic impact fund that aims to get treatments to patients more quickly
- Delivering a balanced budget to the Board for 2019
Gary said in in 2019 we will create a new strategic plan for 2020-2025. "I want your American Cancer Society to become the Amazon of the non-profit cancer world. . . To be innovators, disruptors, changing the whole landscape of the cancer space. That's the goal and now we have to figure out strategically how we are going to get there," he said.
Gary also announced the new ACS Cultural Beliefs, which will be rolled out to staff and volunteers later this year. They define how we will work together:
- Win Together - I work for team ACS and refuse to be divided over differences.
- Be Aligned - I align with organizational decisions and lead others to do the same.
- Reach Out - I consistently collaborate to maximize opportunities, and always act in the best interest of the enterprise.
- Raise the Bar - I press for excellence, commit to make progress, and demonstrate urgency in all that I do.
- Create Moments - I strive to create memorable and valued experiences every day.
- Do It - I take ownership for my goals, deadlines, and for delivering results.
Gary said he is "really excited about where we are now . . . From this solid foundation, we can accelerate our efforts to make this disease less frightening."
Next up was Len Lichtenfeld, MD, our acting chief medical officer, who gave an update on the state of cancer and an overview of our Research Department. Delivering good and bad news, he cited the 27% decline in cancer deaths over 25 years, and the worldwide obesity problem expected to cause cancer rates to rise. He said our Intramural Research Department will be applying strategies we learned in tobacco control to combat obesity and inactivity, and improving what we know about physical activity, sedentary behavior, and healthy eating by collecting objective device-based data from 20,000 CPS-3 participants.
Perhaps the most provocative thing Dr. Len discussed was blood tests that one day may be able to finds cancers that have evaded detection. Finding markers for ovarian, liver, and pancreatic cancers through blood samples have shown very promising early results. "We are not there yet, but it is close to becoming a reality," he said.
New treatments for metastatic melanoma are keeping patients alive for four, five and six years, and it's too early to tell how long they will live. Have we found a cure? Dr. Len said he doesn't know, "but what I do know is that we have treatments and we have hope, while just a few years ago we had nothing."
Rich Wender also delivered upbeat news. Smoking is at an all-time low, with smoking rates at 15.5% for adults, 7.9% for adolescents, and 2.1% for middle schoolers. Thanks to a two-year $1.3 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, we will be increasing access to cessation programs for public housing residents. Smoking was banned in and near public housing in the U.S. last summer.
Thanks to another grant, this one for $3.5 million from Pfizer and secured by the North Region, we will be working to decrease breast cancer inequities by ensuring high-risk women in targeted areas get necessary care, from screening through treatment.
Rich gave updates on our two current campaigns, Mission: HPV Cancer Free and our colorectal cancer screening campaign 80% in Every Community (previously called 80% by 2018). Ninety-one Federally Qualified Health Centers that received a grant from ACS have seen their HPV screening rates go up an average of 15.8%. Also, 175 clinical leaders and survivors have been trained and are engaged to help lead the HPV campaign. "These volunteers will lead our way to success," he said. Rich also had high praise for the ACS marketing team, noting the huge amount of publicity Mission: HPV Cancer Free has garnered so far.
Rich announced that this year's winner of the National Mission: HPV Cancer Free Campaign Award is the South Region. Congratulations! You may remember that the South Region secured an anonymous $4.6 million three-year donation to increase HPV vaccination rates in North Texas. (And, the federal government is giving us $11 million for this campaign!)80% in Every Community, like 80% by 2018, will strive to get 80% of age-appropriate Americans screened for colorectal cancer. From 2012 to 2016, screening rate in people 50 to 75 increased by 2%, representing 5.1 million more people screened. The screening rate in the Medicare population, ages 65 - 75, is 78.4%, while the screening rate among those 50 to 55 is just 49%.Rich predicted that the next major ACS national campaign will be to reduce lung cancer mortality.
A theme we heard repeatedly was the American Cancer Society's commitment to ending health disparities. While ethnic disparities have generally been decreasing, disparities based on socio-economic and educational status are growing. "Tackling the social determinants of health will require different polices and positions and demand engagement of all sectors. We are now on a learning tour to really figure out what our place might be in that journey," Rich said.
PHOTOS: Pictured in the top photo, from left, CEO Gary Reedy, 2018 ACS Inc. Board Chair Kevin Cullen, MD, and 2019 ACS Inc. Board Chair Dan Heist. In the smaller image, from left, are Kevin Polke, Heddie Sumpter, Shanna Lee, and Melissa Park.