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Celebrating Black leadership and ACS volunteers

Help highlight contributions of influential leaders during Black History Month.​

While it is impossible to list every member of the Black community who has contributed in some way to ACS, we are proud to highlight the contributions of these influential leaders during Black History Month. 

Dr. Cynthia LeBlanc – In 2011, Dr. LeBlanc became the first African American woman to serve as chair of the ACS board. Dr. LeBlanc also served as a volunteer for many years in various capacities. As chair of ACS’ California Board of Directors, she was instrumental in encouraging the inclusion of youth in our work and addressing the impact of cancer in diverse communities. 

Dr. Harold Freeman – Known as the “Father of Patient Navigation,” Dr. Freeman made his career out of asking why it was that his patients, who were poor and Black, sought treatment too late. As president of the American Cancer Society in 1988-89, he published a study, “Cancer in the socioeconomically disadvantaged,” and made an unprecedented conclusion – “that the principal reason that Black people were dying from cancer was because they were poor.” Read an interview with Dr. Freeman through the Cancer History Project

Dr. Kimberly Jeffries Leonard Chair of the ACS CAN Board of Directors, Dr. Jeffries Leonard has a life-long commitment to public service exemplified throughout her successful professional, academic and civic endeavors. She is currently the 17th National President of The Links, Incorporated and The Links Foundation, Incorporated; Vice President of Administration and member of the Board of Directors of the Black Women’s Agenda, Inc.; and was appointed Chair of the D.C. Commission on African American Affairs by Washington, D.C. Mayor, Muriel Bowser. Her background includes expertise in developing public health and behavioral health programs, policies, and related legislation. She has subject matter expertise in minority health, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, cardiovascular disease, health disparities, health care reform, tribal issues, reentry and criminal justice issues, international behavioral health, co-occurring mental health and trauma, and women’s and adolescent services. 

Dr. LaSalle Leffall Jr. – A Black ACS volunteer and thought leader, Dr. Leffall was key in encouraging equality at ACS during the civil rights movement. He first got involved as a volunteer in the 1960s and became the first Black ACS president in 1978. As a researcher, Dr. Leffall called on ACS to “meet the challenge of cancer among Black Americans,” addressing disparities in cancer prevalence, treatment, and mortality. His work caused a radical shift in cancer control, shaping the way generations approached care for not only Black Americans, but also other underserved ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic groups. 

Charlie Hill – A 2022 winner of the Fredda Bryan National Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award, Mr. Hill has been an advocate dedicated to spreading cancer awareness messaging to the communities he serves with a DE&I and health equity strategic focus. He has served as an essential leader of the African American Stakeholder Advisory group, advising the Executive Team and the organization in matters of DEI and the African American community overall, but most especially as it relates to Black men and prostate cancer. He is a tireless advocate for health equity, advocating for improved screening guidelines and cancer information.

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