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Meet our new chief patient officer

Arif Kamal, MD, MBA, MHS will begin his new job at ACS on Feb. 1.

We are pleased to announce the hiring of Arif Kamal, MD, MBA, MHS, FACP, FAAHPM, FASCO, as our inaugural chief patient officer. Dr. Kamal comes to us from Duke University and the Duke Cancer Institute, where he has served for more than 12 years as an oncologist, researcher, and innovative leader. He will begin on Tuesday, Feb. 1.  

He and his wife and two children live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where the Office of the Chief Patient Officer will be located.

Dr. Kamal will lead our Patient Support vision and strategic plans to improve the lives of cancer patients and their families.  This position is a critical addition to ACS and our Executive Team, providing for the first time a single, coordinated unit to accelerate progress against cancer through our patient-facing activities. Dr. Kamal will report directly to American Cancer Society CEO Karen Knudsen, MBA, PhD.

To get a better understanding of how Dr. Kamal approaches his work, watch this video.

Dr. Kamal is currently an associate professor of Medicine and Population Health at the Duke University School of Medicine, and recently served as physician quality and outcomes officer at the Duke Cancer Institute. He holds nationally recognized expertise in oncology quality assessment and palliative care, which aims to provide relief from symptoms and stress associated with a serious illness like cancer at diagnosis, during and after treatment, and at the end of life. To stay grounded to the needs of patients and caregivers we serve, Dr. Kamal will keep a small palliative care clinical practice at Duke Cancer Center.   

Throughout his career, Dr. Kamal has been driven by a passion for aligning patients with the most appropriate care plans, based on both medical need and goals of care preferences. A self-described “problem-solver” with an entrepreneurial streak, he has both a medical and a business background. 

"This unique combination makes Dr. Kamal a perfect fit for leading our Patient Support pillar, which encompasses cancer control, patient navigation, educational programs, patient lodging solutions, transportation services, our contact center, digital patient support offerings, and all aspects of ACS functions that touch patients across 5,000 communities around the globe," noted Dr. Knudsen.

Dr. Kamal co-founded Prepped Health, a company that develops innovative technology solutions to educate and engage patients and caregivers facing a serious illness like cancer. He also holds several leadership positions in other organizations, including the National Quality Forum (NQF), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM).  

He has published more than 200 peer-reviewed articles in journals such as JAMAJournal of Clinical OncologyAnnals of Internal Medicine, and Lancet Oncology. He holds grant funding from the National Cancer Institute, National Institute on Aging, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation.   

Dr. Kamal received his medical degree from the six-year combined BA/MD program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, completed his internal medicine residency and a hospice and palliative medicine fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and had a hematology/oncology fellowship at Duke University. He holds a master’s degree in health science in clinical research from Duke University and a master’s in business administration from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst.   

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