A Leader's Legacy: Transforming the American Cancer Society

Published: Tuesday, Sep 15, 2015
John R. Seffrin, PhD

John R. Seffrin, PhD

There are few words more associated with the American Cancer Society (ACS) than education, which made the choice for the 2014 Giants of Cancer Care award for education an easy one—John R. Seffrin, PhD, who spent 40 years with the ACS before retiring in May. Seffrin says that eliminating cancer as a major public health problem requires both education and improved public policy, with an emphasis on elevating cancer prevention and ensuring access to quality healthcare.

“Very few organizations have been able to publish data and show the kind of progress made in terms of reducing death rates and lives being saved. But, by the same token, we have lots of data to show that the number of lives saved could be a lot more if we were able to do business differently,” Seffrin said.

Early Influences

Seffrin’s first encounter with cancer dates to his childhood. His grandmother, who was living with his family at the time, died of cancer when he was 10 years old. He has since lost his mother to cancer, and his wife, Carole, is a breast cancer survivor.
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