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ACS News Minute: ACS leads effort to improve cancer care in Africa

ACS and the Clinton Health Access Initiative are collaborating to bring less expensive and higher quality cancer medications to sub-Saharan Africa.

Thanks to groundbreaking market access agreements with Pfizer Inc. and Cipla Inc., access to 16 essential cancer treatment medications will be expanded in Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania.

In this latest ACS News Minute, Meg O'Brien, PhD, managing director, Global Cancer Treatment, explains more. Watch now!

  • Society Talk recap & replay

    Thanks for tuning in to our April Society Talk. We hope you enjoyed the program. 

    You'll find a brief recap below of some, not all, segments, followed by a list of the resources mentioned on the show. A replay is available here -- the same link you used to watch the show. 

    The biggest news was that Phase 3 jobs have been posted. 

    Also, we have hired a outside firm to help us fill the EVP jobs that are open. Mike Neal said we are looking for people who have the eight competencies that were identified specifically for EVPs, from managing teams to managing complexities. He said we are looking both internally and externally for those leaders. "I am eager to get the list in front of me, as we want to hire these people as soon as possible," he said.

    We also learned about an exciting new Caregivers Resource Guide that, at first, will be given away for free at five of our Hope Lodges: Atlanta, Manhattan, New Orleans, Lexington, KY, and Rochester, NY. As explained by Rachel Cannady, strategic director, Cancer Caregiver Support​, the guide includes information about cancer, treatment, self-care, how to communicate with the health care team and patient, and much more. "If we support our family caregivers, they will want to give back to us," she said. ​

    Another guest was Ben Kaplan, senior director, Mobile Marketing, who announced that our fundraising app for Relay and Making Strides now lets participants register and re-register for events. He also put a plug in for text messaging -- technology available to all Relay and Strides event managers. He said research shows that people read texts more than they do email, and a lot faster. He also talked about an exciting virtual reality project we're working on with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The goal is to distract children with something fun and engaging in order to reduce the pain and anxiety of treatment.​

    And for those who might have been wondering, the results of our CEO Gary Reedy's colonoscopy were just fine! ​

    PHOTO: Host Desiree Berenguer Carton, seated with Rachel Cannady and Gary Reedy, holds up our new Caregivers Resource Guide.

  • Society Talk recap

    ​Thanks for watching our February Society Talk. If you missed the show or want to watch any of the segments again, a replay is now available.

    Here are the highlights by segment:

    Pre-recorded interview with Gary Reedy

    • CEO Gary Reedy announced that Rob King, senior VP, Enterprise Planning & Business Integration; Board Chair Arnold Baskies, MD, and Board member Amit Kumar, PhD, are meeting with leaders of the Cystic Fibrosis​ Foundation to learn how they started venture philanthropy. "We want to pick their brains" said Gary, adding that we "are moving close to having a plan to stand up our venture fund." He hopes to present a plan to the Board at its April meeting.
    • Our CEO has been named to the steering committee of recently formed Biden Foundation. One of its seven pillars is to continue the work of the Cancer Moonshot, including how to bring affordable medicines to cancer patients.
    • The recently named EVPs of our six new regions are working together to form their leadership teams. The teams should be announced in the next couple of weeks, and the new operating model is on track to take effect July 1.
    • Last but not least, Gary gave a shout out to the multidisciplinary team that was responsible for the refresh of He noted that the website is many peoples' first interaction with the us, and it's important that their experience be as fulfilling as possible.

    Extramural Research 

    Bill Chambers, PhD, senior vice president, Extramural Research and Bill Phelps, PhD, vice president, ​Extramural Research, ​discussed our goal to double our annual research investment within the next five years. Dr. Chambers said it will take a collective effort, with many departments working together to make it happen. He said he has been spending a lot of time talking to Development and Major Gifts staff.  

    "We have an opportunity to be even more impactful than we have been. We are posed to do wonderful things," he said, thanks to our "really doing a much better job of being an integrated organization." He called it "profoundly" exciting.

    Intramural Research

    Ken Portier, PhD, VP, Statistics and Evaluation Center and acting VP of the Behavioral Research Center, and Corinne Leach, PhD, MPH, our strategic director of Cancer and Aging Research, discussed the work two of the five programs in this department  – the Behavioral Research Center (BRC) and the Statistics & Evaluation Center (SEC). (The other three are Epidemiology, Surveillance​ & Health Services, and Economic and Health Policy Research.)

    • The SEC will soon be conducting a review of our Road To Recovery program.​
    • In collaboration with the National Cancer Institute, ACS launched Springboard Beyond Cancer, an eHealth tool (computer and mobile) that helps patients live healthier lives during and after cancer.  Its URL currently is, but that will be changing soon to one that better describes what it is. In addition, a Spanish version of the tool is expected in 2018.​​

    Renee Ducre, managing director, Enterprise Web Development, Development and Marketing, gave a tour of our refreshed we site. Did you know gets 8 million visits a month? Renee said the #1 thing viewers like about the makeover is the fresh, clean look. It's also much faster. The old site took 11 seconds to load, she said.            

    Customer Promises segment with Nichole Hicks - Exemplifying the "We are innovative" promise.  

    Nichole Pfeiffer Hicks, managing director, Relay For Life Youth/Campus Strategy, announced that we have enlisted the help of students at Emory University's Goizueta Business School to come up with new and innovative ways to grow our college Relay For Life events. We have challenged ourselves to reach $50 million in college Relay income in the next five years. Business students will present their ideas in May, and we hope to be able to implement some of them this fall.

  • Replays from our Leadership Summit are here!

    ​Replays of presentations made at our Jan. 11-13, 2017 Nationwide Volunteer and Staff Leadership Summit are now ready for viewing!

    Nearly 300 staff and volunteers attended the meeting in Atlanta, and its goal was to build a strong foundation of leaders who will champion our organizational priorities as we build the new American Cancer Society.

    Here are the presentations:

    • Medal ​of Honor ceremony (56 minutes)​​​
    • Remar​ks by our CEO Gary Reedy (16 minutes) - Gary discusses our new mission statement and tells an inspiring anecdote about the Society's role in the Cancer Moonshot.
    • Panel Disc​ussion​  (1 hour, 11 minutes) - Hear Rich Wender, MD, our chief cancer control officer; Otis Brawley, MD, our chief medical and scientific officer; Joe Cahoon, senior VP for Field Operations; and Sharon Byers, chief development and marketing officer, discuss how we will marry mission and revenue and double are research budget.
    • Simone I ​Smith, (11 minutes) - The jewelry designer and wife of LL Cool J shares her cancer journey and says she has a duty to give back. 
    • Arnold M. Ba​skies, MD, FACS ​(18 minutes)  - Our new Board chair says in order to be successful we must embrace collaboration and unity.
    • Tab​oo (20  minutes) - The testicular cancer survivor and member of the musical group the Black Eyed Peas shares details of his cancer fight and relationship with ACS.
    • Awards Luncheon ​(49 minutes) - Awarding of the Trish Greene and Lane Adams Quality of Life Awards
    • Presentation of the Volunteer Leadership Award​ (9 minutes)

  • January Society Talk replay now available!

    ​Thanks for tuning in to our Jan. 18 90-minute Society Talk. A recap of each guest's presentation follows, and here is the link​ to the replay​.

    CEO Gary Reedy

    Gary was full of good news: In 2016 our revenue grew, for the first time in nine years! 

    Another feel good announcement is that NCIC is turning 20 this month, and there will be a big celebration in Austin on Jan. 24. Gary said when he meets with potential investors he always impresses them with details of this amazing resource that people can access toll free any time of day or night, 365 days a year. Since opening, NCIC staffers have answered more than 18 million calls.

    Regarding our new regional model, Gary said the leaders of each of the six new regions will be announced within the next two weeks.

    Rich Wender, MD, our chief cancer control officer

    Rich gave, as always, a very exciting presentation about our Cancer Control Blueprint, which we hope will become the basis for a national cancer blueprint.

    Our Cancer Control blueprint has two main areas of focus: 

    • Act on what is proven to work and ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to benefit.​​
    • Identify the most promising avenues for research to address what is not known today.​

    Action Steps

    1. We are identifying and prioritizing prevention, early detection, treatment, and research strategies for every cancer.​
    2. Some cancers have strategies proven to work in every category, as well as key research questions demanding answers.
    3. For others, research must be our highest priority.

    Lung cancer provides a good Cancer Control Blueprint example. In the past, we’ve only had one effective strategy – prevention through tobacco control. Today, there are four strategies converging to create a prime opportunity to accelerate our progress against lung cancer:
    1. More knowledge about how to prevent lung cancer – and which populations are lagging​
    2. A screening test to detect lung cancer early and cure it
    3. Therapies that work but that must be made available to all who may benefit
    4. Extraordinary research promise available to deliver more answers​
    Proposed public health campaigns
    The ‘campaign’ model is a new way of presenting our work to our partners and the public. Like the 80% by 2018 campaign, these public pushes build excitment, position us as a leader, focus national attention, and attract organizations and other players who want to associate with a winning tactic. These mission campaigns also are likely to attract funding, whether through grants or other means. Here are the proposed campaigns, or as Rich calls them, the 7 Big Opportunities: 
    • Big Opportunity #1: Increase colorectal cancer screening rates to 80% by 2018.​​​
    • Big Opportunity #2: Reduce lung cancer age-adjusted mortality by 50% within a decade.​
    • Big Opportunity #3: Ensure no one dies of cancer because they can't get the care they need.​
    • Big Opportunity #4: Eliminate HPV-related cancers.​​(As Rich noted, ACS is a leader in this area, having helped convene the National HPV Vaccination Roundtable.
    • Big Opportunity #5: Equalize outcomes for all facing breast cance​r​​
    • Big Opportunity #6: Ensure all cancer survivors can access recommended care.​
    • Big Opportunity #7: Enable communities to fight cancer by addressing the true determinants of health.​​

    Sharon Byers, chief development & marketing officer

    Sharon is tasked with "filling our sails" and she said our long-term sustainabililty depends on our ability to reinvent ourselves in the marketplace. To do that, we need to create and sustain meaningful collaborations and relationships across many sectors. Relationships are where the magic happens, she said.

    Within the sports world, we are launching our biggest fundraising initiative with the new 3-Point Challenge. Roughly 200 schools around the country have opted in! Fans of schools can make pledges for every 3-Point shot made.

    On the corporate side, we’ve hired three new leaders that are corporate relationship experts, each with an industry focus. This team will be rounded out by two leaders that are experts in building partnerships in the finance and technology arena, and those roles will be filled shortly. ​

    More celebrity engagement is expected, but Sharon said you always "start with people who love you."  Our relationship with Taboo will continue, and look for something special from him on Feb. 4, World Cancer Day.

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