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ACS welcomes three new members to its Board of Directors

Board Elects Five New Officers for 2020 

 The American Cancer Society (ACS)  is pleased to announce three new members and the newly elected leadership officers to its Board of Directors, with all terms beginning on January 1, 2020.   

"We are honored to welcome these distinguished members to the Board of Directors," said Jeffrey L. Kean, 2020 chair of the Board. "Our Board comprises strong leaders who collectively use their talent, expertise, and commitment to help ACS continue its mission of attacking cancer from every angle."  

The ACS Board of Directors consists of 21 members, which includes five officers and 16 directors. Directors are elected for a two-year term, and officers hold their positions for a one-year term. For more details, read the 2020 Board Directory.

Joining the Board are:  

  • Katie Eccles, Salt Lake City, UT: Katie is an attorney and of counsel at Ray, Quinney & Nebeker. In 2015, she received the local ACS Sword of Hope Award in recognition of her years of service as chair of its Hope Lodge Board to fund, design and construct the Hope Lodge in Salt Lake City. Katie currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees for the University of Utah and chairs its Audit Committee, as well as serving as a trustee of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation, the Emma Eccles Jones Foundation, and the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.  
  • Patrick Geraghty, Jacksonville, FL: Patrick is president and CEO of GuideWell, which includes Florida Blue, GuideWell Connect, GuideWell Health, GuideWell Source, and PopHealthCare. He established CEOs Against Cancer chapters in Minnesota and Florida and received the national CEO of the Year award from ACS in 2011. Patrick is also a recipient of the 2017 St. George National Award. 
  • Oyebode Taiwo, MD, MPH, Minneapolis, MN: Oyebode is the corporate medical director of 3M where he is responsible for the development of 3M's global health strategy, as well as the leadership and management of the medical organization.

"We thank our outgoing Board members Edward Benz, Jr., MD, FACP, Kevin J. Cullen, MD, and Gregory L. Pemberton, Esq., for their dedication to the ACS mission," said Daniel P. Heist, outgoing 2019 chair of the Board. "We are excited to continue the great work with the newly-elected officers that bring more than 110 years of volunteer experience to the Board leadership roles."  

The 2020 American Cancer Society Board of Directors: 


  • Jeffrey L. Kean - Chair  
  • John Alfonso, CPA, CGMA - Vice Chair 
  • Carmen E. Guerra, MD, MSCE, FACP - Board Scientific Officer 
  • Brian A. Marlow, CFA - Secretary/Treasurer 
  • Daniel P. Heist - Immediate Past Chair 


  • Joseph A. Agresta, Jr.  
  • Bruce N. Barron  
  • Jennifer R. Crozer 
  • Katie Eccles 
  • Patrick Geraghty 
  • Mark A. Goldberg, MD 
  • Gareth T. Joyce
  • Amit Kumar, PhD   
  • Michelle M. LeBeau, PhD 
  • Michael T. Marquardt  
  • Margaret McCaffery 
  • Terri McClements  
  • Joseph M. Naylor   
  • William D. Novelli 
  • Gary Shedlin 
  • Oyebode Taiwo, MD, MPH 



  • ACS CAN: Comprehensive action needed to stop tobacco industry from targeting youth with flavors, advertisements

    ​Government survey shows youth tobacco use at highest rate in 19 years due to e-cigarette epidemic

    Nearly 70% of middle and high school students who currently use tobacco report the use of flavored products, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today. Additionally, 9 out of every 10 students surveyed report exposure to tobacco industry advertisements and promotions.

    As part of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the CDC released the results of the 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey and included an in-depth analysis of the data. It found approximately one-quarter of youth are current tobacco product users. In its analysis, the CDC concludes that sustained and comprehensive implementation of evidence-based prevention and cessation strategies, paired with the regulation of all tobacco products by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can reduce all forms of tobacco product use among youth.

    Following is a statement from Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN (pictured here):

    “With nearly 70% of youth tobacco users noting their use of flavored products, and nearly 23 million middle and high school students being exposed to tobacco advertisements, it’s clear the tobacco industry is still actively working to addict a new generation of Americans to its deadly products and decisive action is needed.

    “The disturbing figures released today once again highlight the tobacco industry’s tactics that have led to the current youth epidemic of addictive tobacco products. Policymakers at all levels of government need to act immediately. The FDA, Congress, and state and local lawmakers have the authority to clear the marketplace of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, which clearly appeal to youth.

    “In addition to acting on flavors, the CDC’s analysis notes that evidence-based tobacco control strategies, coupled with strong surveillance of all tobacco products are critical to preventing and reducing tobacco product use among youth. The FDA must exert the full extent of its regulatory authority over all tobacco products while also cracking down on the advertising practices of the profit-driven tobacco industry. The agency should also prioritize additional interventions such as the reduction of nicotine levels in all tobacco products. The time for comprehensive action is long overdue.”

  • Survey: cancer patients and survivors alter or delay care due to insurance barriers

    Issues include prescription drug coverage and surprise medical bills

    Some recent and current cancer patients are making changes to their cancer treatment due to the coverage and cost of prescription drugs and surprise medical bills, according to new survey results from ACS CAN.

    The latest survey from Survivor Views, a national cohort of cancer patients and survivors who complete surveys on a range of public policy issues important to the cancer community, found nearly one-third of patients and survivors have experienced some insurance barrier to accessing prescription drugs necessary for their cancer care, more than half of lower-income respondents have had to act to reduce their prescription costs, and roughly one-quarter of all patients have encountered surprise medical bills—the large bills that result from a patient unknowingly receiving care or a service from an out-of-network provider.

    The survey results come as Congress considers a series of end-of-the-year bills aimed at reducing patient out-of-pocket costs. 

    Prescription Drugs

    Patients surveyed report a variety of insurance barriers to accessing prescription drugs. The most common barriers were having to wait more than 24 hours for insurance approval (19%), being denied coverage for the doctor-prescribed drug (14%) or being required to try a less expensive prescription drug first (10%). Of those who experienced an insurance barrier, 79% reported experiencing at least one negative consequence including, having to spend time on the phone with their insurance provider (44%), paying for the prescription drug out-of-pocket (27%) and going without the prescription drug sometimes for a week or more (38%).

    More than half (54%) of lower income patients have tried to reduce their out-of-pocket costs, including asking for a generic or biosimilar (29%), using a manufacturer’s coupon or assistance program (18%) or asking for a lower-cost drug to be prescribed (17%). While these methods may help reduce overall health care costs, other common methods may have serious negative impacts on patients’ health. For instance, low-income patients were more likely to delay treatment (17%), endure a side effect without treatment (17%), take an over-the-counter medication instead of a prescription drug (16%) or cut pills in half or skip doses of their prescription drugs (9%) than their higher-income counterparts.

    Surprise Billing

    Additionally, nearly a quarter of all survey respondents said they had experienced a surprise medical bill. The Federal Reserve reports four in ten Americans cannot afford an unexpected bill of $400 or more, yet the majority of the surprise bills respondents received were for over $500 and 21% totaled $3,000 or more. 

    Receiving these large, unexpected bills negatively affected patients’ behavior. Nearly 70% said they experienced anxiety about receiving another surprise bill and worried about how such bills might hinder their ability to pay for their care, 60% said they were less likely to follow-up with a doctor-recommended specialist who may be out-of-network, and 42% said they were less likely to call an ambulance when experiencing a serious cancer-related health issue. Nearly one-third also reported that they would be less likely to get a certain treatment because of cost concerns and would be less likely to go to the emergency room for a serious cancer-related health problem.

    “Cancer patients and survivors need ready access to the right prescription drugs and care to treat their disease and side-effects at affordable prices. These results demonstrate the growing obstacles—both administrative and financial—that stand in the way of patients’ ability to get necessary care,” said Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN. “On behalf of all cancer patients, we urge lawmakers to work together and swiftly pass meaningful bipartisan legislation to lower costs and increase access to prescription drugs and eliminate surprise billing. Patients cannot wait.”

    A detailed summary of the key findings can be found here.

  • Study finds wide-spread county-level variation in rates of surgery for early-stage lung cancer

    Socioeconomic and healthcare delivery factors appear to contribute to the gap

    A new study finds more than two-fold differences between counties with the lowest and highest rates of surgery for patients with early stage lung cancer, with socioeconomic and healthcare delivery factors contributing to the gap. The study appears in the journal Chest.

    Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the U.S., with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounting for about 85% of cases. Surgery is the standard treatment for early-stage (I or II) disease, but studies have documented variations in receipt of curative-intent surgery by race, facility type, and geography.

    The authors of the current study recently reported substantial state-level variations in receipt of curative-intent surgery for NSCLC in the United States. For the current study, investigators at the American Cancer Society and Baptist Cancer Center, Memphis , led by Helmneh Sineshaw, MD, MPH, looked at county-level variations within states to gain a sharper picture of the extent of care delivery problems. Helmneh, pictured here, is principal scientist in our Health Services Research group within our Intramural Research department.

    A total of 179,189 patients 35 and older diagnosed with stage I/II NSCLC between 2007–2014 in 2,263 counties were identified from 39 states, the District of Columbia, and Detroit population-based cancer registries compiled by the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries. The percentage of patients who underwent surgery was calculated for each county with 20 or more cases of NSCLC.

    The authors found surgery rates ranged from 12.8% to 48.6% in the 10% of counties with the lowest surgery rates to 74.3% to 91.7% in the 10% of counties with the highest rates of surgery. Pockets of low surgery rate-counties within each state were also identified. For example, there was a 25% absolute difference between the lowest and highest surgery receipt rate-counties in Massachusetts. Overall, counties in the lowest quartile for receipt of surgery were those with high proportion of non-Hispanic blacks, high poverty and uninsured rate, low surgeon-to-population ratio, and nonmetropolitan status.

    “Receipt of curative-intent surgery for early-stage NSCLC varied substantially across counties in the United States with pockets of low receipt counties, even within states with high surgical resection rates,” write the authors. “Area-level socioeconomic and healthcare delivery factors partially contributed to these variations, suggesting that concerted policy interventions targeting low access and high poverty counties may reduce variations in receipt of curative-intent surgery.”

    The authors say further studies are needed to identify and address gaps in access to surgical treatment of early-stage NSCLC, such as more direct evaluation of patient-, provider-, institution-, and community-level factors influencing access to and choice for or against curative-intent treatment modalities.

  • ACS & Flatiron Health launch Real-World Data Impact Award

    Grant seeks to support patient-centric research by our currently funded investigators through funding and access to real-world oncology datasets

    The American Cancer Society and Flatiron Health today announced the launch of the American Cancer Society & Flatiron Health Real-World Data Impact Award. This joint grant-making program supports both organizations' goals of accelerating cancer research and improving treatment and care options for patients.

    ACS and Flatiron designed the program to advance patient-centric research among investigators currently funded by ACS. Up to three grants in the amount of $75,000 each will be awarded during 2020 to existing ACS grantees with experience in health services or observational research. ACS will oversee the grant selection process and Flatiron will provide selected grantees research funding and access to its de-identified oncology datasets curated from electronic health records for research purposes.

    Research could include characterizing healthcare disparities in treatment and outcomes among underserved populations in the U.S., evaluating national healthcare policy impact on practice patterns and patient outcomes, comparing effectiveness of treatments unlikely to be addressed by clinical trials, assessing impact of clinical guidelines on treatment and outcomes, and more.

    "The American Cancer Society understands the incredible potential real-world data has for furthering our knowledge of patients' experiences to improve patient outcomes," said William Phelps, PhD, our senior vice president for Extramural Research. "These new grants present a unique opportunity to expand the scope of questions our researchers are able to answer by working with some of the highest-quality de-identified real-world datasets available. We look forward to the groundbreaking work our researchers will undertake with the help of this grant."

    Eligible grantees have been sent individual communication about this funding opportunity. A letter-of-intent process will be used to invite applications for the April 15, 2020 deadline. Current ACS grantees may contact for more details. 

  • Security tips for the holiday season

    ​As we enter the busy holiday season – which includes travel for many people – our information security team offers important reminders of how we can best protect ourselves, the Society, and the sensitive information and transactions we deal with every day. 

    1: Update your devices’ operating systems and software.

    Before you travel, make sure your smartphone and computer operating systems and software are up-to-date.

    2: Take only what you need.

    Do you really need to pack 15 different electronic devices? The more devices you take, the more you’ll have to keep safe from hacking, theft, or accidents.

    3: Lock down your devices.

    Make sure that all the devices you take on a trip are protected with strong passwords, and/or a biometric lock, and disable any file-sharing capabilities. Avoid taking devices that contain sensitive data. If you cannot avoid traveling with a device that contains sensitive data, consider encrypting it using encryption software.

    4: Use caution on public wi-fi.

    Many airports, hotels, and restaurants offer free, unsecured public wi-fi, which poses a multitude of cyber security risks. Avoid using these networks. Tethering to your phone is a much safer option. If you absolutely must connect to a public wi-fi network, follow these best practices.

    5: Don’t leave devices unattended.

    Lock up any devices you leave in hotel rooms, and never leave your devices unattended in public areas, not even for a moment. For example, never set your phone down on a counter while you reach into your purse or wallet. When using your devices in public areas – especially crowded ones – conceal your devices as much as possible. Keep them tucked inside interior pockets or hidden inside zippered bags, and make sure those bags never leave your possession.

    6: Don’t share your current location on social media.

    Many social media sites have an option to “check in” to your current locale so your followers can track you on your trip. The downside of this feature is, hackers can also track your movements and use them to their advantage. For example, they can break into your home, office, or hotel room when they know you’re not there. It’s best to turn off this feature and maybe post where you’ve been after you’ve already returned home.

    7: Don’t share your phone with strangers.

    While traveling (or really any day), you may be approached by strangers with sob stories about losing their phone (or having it stolen) and needing to borrow yours to call for help. Never let strangers “borrow” your phone or any other device. It takes only a few moments for a skilled cybercriminal to install malware on your device – or simply to run away and disappear into a crowd.

    8: Don’t use Bluetooth.

    Many rental cars allow travelers to connect their smartphones using Bluetooth. However, some vehicles store your personal information, such as your contact list, even after you’ve terminated the connection. Enabling Bluetooth connectivity also leaves your device vulnerable to hackers. Turn off Bluetooth before you leave for your trip, and don’t turn it back on until you get home.

    9: Turn off network auto-connect.

    Many smartphones include a feature that enables them to automatically connect to available wi-fi networks. It’s good practice to turn off this feature, not only when you travel but permanently. Telling your phone to automatically connect to any available network leaves you vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attacks.

    10: Use credit cards, not debit cards.

    Always use a credit card, not a debit card, when paying for hotel rooms or meals or making any other purchases on the road. Point-of-sale systems are major targets for hackers, and if your credit card data is stolen, you have far more recourse to get fraudulent charges refunded than you do with a debit card. This also prevents hackers from getting access to your bank account. 

  • “Alexa, open American Cancer Society!”

    Thanks to an app on Alexa, users can learn about five types of cancer

    Now customers of the popular smart speaker, Amazon Echo (aka Alexa), can bring ACS content and services to life by enabling the American Cancer Society Alexa Skill, a voice-driven capability that provides a more personal experience with the device. Specifically, the American Cancer Society Alexa Skill provides Alexa customers the opportunity to ask questions and learn about cancer types, symptoms, and treatment, in addition to learning about the services ACS provides like Hope Lodge, Road To Recovery, Reach To Recovery,, and our 24/7 cancer information line. 

    The American Cancer Society Alexa Skill, essentially an app on the Alexa platform, allows consumers to ask common questions about five cancer types - breast, prostate, colorectal, lung, and skin - and understand the basics of treatment options.   

    Information on each cancer topic area begins when Alexa is engaged by stating “Alexa, open American Cancer Society.” Each cancer topic sets users on a path to learn more information on that particular topic and allows customers to ask questions such as:

    • “What is cancer?”
    • “Is cancer contagious?”
    • “Tell me about cancer surgery.”
    • “What are the signs and symptoms of lung cancer?”

    ACS is working continuously to add additional cancer content to increase the depth and breadth of ACS information available to consumers.

    Learn more by visiting this dedicated page on Amazon, or by simply saying, “Alexa, open American Cancer Society.”

  • Celebrating HPV prevention work across the nation

    Champions recognized in 25 states for their work to increase vaccination rates

    The American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) recently announced the 2019 HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention Champion award winners. This year, champions were honored from 25 states (not all states participate). The winners were notified last week. A spotlight of each winner is posted on the CDC’s website. 

    This award was established in 2017 to recognize clinicians, clinics, practices, groups, and health systems that are going above and beyond to foster HPV vaccination in their communities. State and territorial immunization program managers coordinate the nomination and review process. Champions must meet the following minimum requirements:

    • Adolescent Health: The candidate must be a clinician, clinic, practice, group, or health system that treats adolescents as part of their overall population.
    • Vaccination Rates: The candidate must reach the target series completion rate of 60% for the patient population aged 13–15 years. The rate must account for both female and male patients. Vaccination under the two-dose schedule (two doses given at least five months apart in children ages 9–14 years old) satisfies series completion, as does the original three-dose schedule.

    In addition, Champions should meet one or more of the following judging criteria:

    • Leadership: The candidate is considered an authority on HPV vaccination. 
    • Collaboration: The candidate has worked to build support for and increase HPV vaccination rates in their adolescent population. 
    • Innovation: The candidate has used creative or innovative strategies to promote HPV vaccination or address challenges to HPV vaccination in their practice, health system, community, state, or region. 

    To learn more about these champions and how they have achieved high HPV vaccination rates, read the winner spotlights.

    • Arkansas: Laura Williams, MD
    • California: Raymond Perry, MD
    • Georgia: Cobb Pediatric Associates
    • Hawaii: Aiea Pediatrics
    • Iowa: Nathan Boonstra, MD, FAAP
    • Louisiana: Sunnyside Pediatrics
    • Maine: Westbrook Pediatrics
    • Massachusetts: Thomas J. Schuch, MD, MPH
    • Michigan: Ascension Borgess Family Medicine and Pediatrics
    • Minnesota: Andrea Singh, MD
    • Mississippi: Vibha Vig, MD
    • Nevada: Reno Center for Child and Adolescent Health
    • New Jersey: Bellevue Pediatrics
    • New Mexico: Jicarilla Service Unit HIS
    • New York: Anna Belle Hyde, FNP-C
    • Ohio: Cincinnati Health Department
    • Oklahoma: Southwestern Pediatrics
    • Oregon: Warm Springs Health and Wellness Center
    • Pennsylvania: UPMC St. Margaret Bloomfield Garfield Family Health Center
    • South Carolina: Tandem Health
    • Tennesse: Sewanee Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
    • Utah: Southridge Pediatrics
    • Virginia: Elizabeth Watts, MD
    • Wisconsin: Lakeshore Community Health Care
    • Wyoming: The Nursing Team of University of Wyoming Family Practice Clinic 

  • It's Cancer Screen Week

    Are you up to date on your screenings?

    Dec. 2 marks the start of Cancer Screen Week, an important public health initiative to increase awareness of the lifesaving benefits of early cancer detection through recommended screenings.  

    The burden of cancer can affect each person differently based on many factors, including where someone lives, their race, ethnicity, and genetic ancestry. This disproportionate burden is partially due to poverty and lack of access to prevention and early detection services, such as cancer screenings.  

    In recent years, some cancer screening rates in certain populations have either become stagnant or declined. 

    Cancer Screen Week is a collective effort by ACS, Stand Up To Cancer, Rally Health, and Genentech. The core partners will provide social media amplification and earned media outreach to support the campaign. This year there will be a greater emphasis on reaching diverse communities, with materials and media interviews being conducted in Spanish and English.  

    With promotional support from actress and breast cancer survivor Shannen Doherty, local efforts are underway in the Los Angeles, CA market to drive awareness of mobile breast screening through an event at a local Federally Qualified Health Center in Glendale, CA. New to Cancer Screen Week this year, this event hopes to encourage screenings for breast cancer and for individuals to find out more about their personal cancer screening options and the risks and benefits of the test. 

    Cancer Screen Week is an ideal opportunity for everyone to think about their personal risks and to talk with their doctors about screening options. All of us should be familiar with ACS cancer screening guidelines

    As part of our Society-sponsored health plans and in compliance with our organization’s cancer screening guidelines, ACS provides coverage for cancer screening benefits, including mammograms and colonoscopies. It's important for staff to know and understand how these cancer screenings are covered through our health plans, including whether your screening is preventive or diagnostic (non-preventive).

    Please share the news about Cancer Screen Week on your social channels using #CancerScreenWeek. The url to share is

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