ASCO Congratulates 2024 Special Awards Recipients

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ASCO and Conquer Cancer will honor individuals who have significantly impacted global cancer care across various domains at the 2024 ASCO Annual Meeting.

William Dale, MD, PhD, FASCO

William Dale, MD, PhD, FASCO

ASCO and Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation, will recognize researchers, patient advocates, philanthropists, teachers, and global oncology leaders who have reshaped cancer care around the world with the Society’s highest honors at the 2024 ASCO Annual Meeting. The 2024 Special Award Recipients are:

Allen Lichter Visionary Leader Award

Robert A. Winn, MD, is director of the VCU Massey Comprehensive Cancer Center. In this role, he oversees a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer center that provides advanced cancer care, conducts groundbreaking research to discover new therapies for cancer, offers high-quality education and training, and engages with the community to make advancements in cancer treatment and prevention equally available to all. He is leading the nation in establishing a 21st-century model of equity for cancer science and care, in which the community is informing and partnering with Massey on its research to best address the cancer burden and disparities of those the cancer center serves, with a local focus but global impact. Dr. Winn is the president of the Association of American Cancer Institutes; chair of the National Cancer Policy Forum of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; a Fellow of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Academy; and a member of the Board of Directors for the American Cancer Society and LUNGevity Foundation.

ASCO-American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Award

Smita Bhatia, MD, MPH, FASCO, is the White Endowed Professor in Pediatric Oncology at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). She previously served as founding chair of the Department of Population Sciences at City of Hope from 2006 to 2014 and joined UAB in 2015 to establish the Institute for Cancer Outcomes and Survivorship. With continuous funding from the NCI and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society since 2000, she is an internationally renowned leader in cancer outcomes and survivorship. She serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Clinical Oncology and senior editor for Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention. She is an elected member of American Society for Clinical Investigation and Association of American Physicians and is a past ASCO Board member.

B.J. Kennedy Geriatric Oncology Award

William Dale, MD, PhD, FASCO, is an internationally recognized leader in cancer and aging, supportive care medicine, cancer survivorship, and medical decision-making. As an internist, geriatrician, and supportive care medicine physician with a doctorate in health policy, Dr. Dale has devoted his career to improving and optimizing the care for older adults with cancer and other diseases. Dr. Dale is the George Tsai Family Chair in Geriatric Oncology in Honor of Arti Hurria, MD, and vice chair for academic affairs in the Department of Supportive Care Medicine at City of Hope, one of the largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the United States. He has over 250 publications and continuous funding from the NIH on medical decision-making, high-value care models, and building age-friendly infrastructure. In addition to leading the publication of the latest ASCO guideline for the care of older adults with cancer, Dr. Dale is co-lead of the Cancer & Aging Research Group (CARG), the largest organization of its kind in North America.

David Karnofsky Memorial Award

Lillian L. Siu, MD, FRCPC, FASCO, is a senior medical oncologist, director of the Phase I Clinical Trials Program, co-director of the Bras and Family Drug Development Program, clinical lead for the Tumor Immunotherapy Program, and holds the BMO Chair in Precision Genomics at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, Canada. Dr. Siu’s major research focus is new anticancer drug development, particularly with respect to phase I trials and head and neck malignancies. She is the co-contact principal investigator of a phase I UM1 grant sponsored by the NCI. In addition to her active research in early-phase clinical trials, she has been leading genomics initiatives and immuno-oncology trials at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Dr. Siu is a past Board member of ASCO and AACR and past chair of the Conquer Cancer Grants Selection Committee. She is the 2020 recipient of the International Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Award.

Excellence in Equity Award, Endowed by the American Cancer Society

Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO, FASCO, is a professor of radiation oncology and vice provost for academic and faculty affairs at the University of Michigan. She is a cancer physician whose research has always been based on the clinical needs of patients with breast cancer. Much of her work has focused on combining radiosensitizing drugs and radiotherapy to overcome radioresistance, the effects of radiotherapy in women with germline mutations in breast cancer susceptibility genes, and the development of radiation treatment planning techniques that optimize cardiac sparing. She serves as director of the Michigan Radiation Oncology Quality Consortium, which seeks to improve the quality and equitable delivery of radiation to patients with cancer throughout the state of Michigan and beyond. She is a past president of ASCO and currently is the chair of the ASCO Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee. Dr. Pierce has received numerous awards from multiple national organizations including the Gold Medal from the American Society for Radiation Oncology, the American Association of Women Radiologist’s Marie Curie Award, and the Conquer Cancer Foundation Endowed Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Award. She currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Board of Directors, and the Robert Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials Career Development National Advisory Board.

Excellence in Teaching Award

Philip Kantoff, MD, is the CEO and cofounder of Convergent Therapeutics, a clinical stage radioantibody company. Prior to joining Convergent Therapeutics, Dr. Kantoff spent 6 years as chair of the Department of Medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where he directed a department of approximately 500 physicians and physician-scientists, caring for patients with cancer and developing improved testing and cancer therapies. He is the Emeritus Jerome and Nancy Kohlberg Chair in Medicine at Harvard Medical School. At Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), he was the chief of the Solid Tumor Oncology Division, and he served as director of the Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology. In those positions, Dr. Kantoff created robust programs of clinical care and research as well as laboratory research. During this time, he served as a clinical researcher and principal investigator in significant trials devoted to the development of new therapeutic targets for patients with advanced prostate cancer and, throughout his tenure at DFCI, he helped to set broad clinical research priorities. He has mentored dozens of physician scientists, scientists, fellows, and junior faculty during his career.

Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award

Lisa Newman, MD, MPH, FASCO, is a surgical oncologist with a practice dedicated to breast cancer management. She currently oversees the Breast Program for the Weill Cornell Medicine-NewYork Presbyterian Hospital Network, serving its Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn sites. She is also the founder and executive director for the International Center for the Study of Breast Cancer Subtypes, headquartered at Weill Cornell Medicine. Dr. Newman’s primary research focuses on race/ethnicity-related variation in breast cancer risk and outcome, as well as advanced breast surgical techniques. She maintains a very active community service record, and serves as chief national medical advisor for the Sisters Network, Inc., a national African American breast cancer survivors support organization. She oversees an international breast cancer research and training program involving partners in Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, and the Caribbean. Her extensive disparities research has been published in numerous high-impact journals and was featured in CNN’s documentary Black in America 2. She has also been the featured breast cancer medical expert for NBC’s Today Show as well on CBS Nightly News. Dr. Newman serves on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Cancer Research, the Scientific Advisory Board for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and she was elected to the National Academy of Medicine earlier this year.

Humanitarian Awards

Satish Gopal, MD, MPH, is director of the Center for Global Health (CGH) at the NCI. In this role, he oversees the development of initiatives and collaborations with other NCI and NIH partners, NCI-designated cancer centers, and other governmental and non-governmental organizations to support cancer research, promote science-based cancer control, and build research capacity in low- and middle-income countries. Before coming to NCI, Dr. Gopal was the cancer program director for the University of North Carolina collaboration with the Malawi Ministry of Health. As an extramural physician-scientist, his NIH-funded research program focused on epidemiologic, clinical, and translational studies of lymphoma and HIV-associated malignancies in Africa and he oversaw a multidisciplinary cancer research portfolio which sought to address many of the commonest cancers in the region, including cervical, breast, and esophageal cancer. He has mentored more than 30 early-career U.S. and African pre- and post-doctoral cancer researchers, many of whom hold academic positions in global oncology at NCI-designated cancer centers, African academic institutions, and other international organizations.

Miriam Mutebi, MD, MSc, FACS, is a consultant breast surgical oncologist and assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. She is also a clinical epidemiologist and health systems researcher with a research focus on understanding barriers to access for women with cancers in Sub-Saharan Africa and in designing interventions to mitigate those barriers. She is the president of the African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC), immediate past president for the Kenya Society of Hematology and Oncology (KESHO), and on the Board of Directors of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). She is also the co-founder of the Pan African Women’s Association of Surgeons, which was developed to mentor and provide transformative leadership for women in surgery in order to improve surgical care and pathology on the continent, and is part of the Kenya Association of Women Surgeons. She is the co-chair of the National Cancer Taskforce in Kenya, chair of the Commonwealth Taskforce for the Elimination of Cervical Cancer, and a commissioner with five Lancet commissions including Women, Power and Cancer, Cancer in Sub-Saharan Africa, and Breast Cancer. She is currently pursuing a pilot's license in order to extend breast care services to marginalized areas.

Patient Advocate Award

Jill Feldman, is a lung cancer patient and passionate advocate with a personal connection to the cause. With a family history of the disease, she became involved in lung cancer advocacy in its infancy in 2001. In 2009, at age 39 with four small children, Ms. Feldman herself was diagnosed with EGFR-positive lung cancer. Ms. Feldman’s advocacy focuses on patient-centered research and care, notably serving as past chair of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer’s Patient Advisory Board, a member of the programmatic panel for the U.S. Department of Defense Lung Cancer Research Program, a member of the ECOG-ACRIN Research Group’s Patient Advocate Committee and Thoracic Committee, and as the patient advocate on the National Lung Cancer Round Table Steering Committee. She co­founded the EGFR Resisters, a community committed to accelerating research and providing support and best practices for patients and families. Ms. Feldman serves in various other leadership roles, striving to humanize the narrative around lung cancer research and care. She emphasizes the importance of considering the profound impact of the disease on patients and families beyond statistics and survival. She also strongly advocates for embedding a health equity lens in all aspects of research and care.

Pediatric Oncology Award

Richard Gorlick, MD, is division head and department chair of pediatrics at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He also holds the H. Grant Taylor, M.D., W.W. Sutow, M.D., and Margaret P. Sullivan, M.D., Distinguished Chair in Pediatrics and serves as department chair ad interim of sarcoma medical oncology at MD Anderson. He also is director of the Pediatric Sarcoma Research Laboratory, which focuses on advancing targeted therapies for childhood cancers and understanding the development and progression of osteosarcoma. A well-respected subject matter expert in the field of pediatric oncology, Dr. Gorlick has published over 325 peer-reviewed papers, reviews, and book chapters. He supports several organizations, including the National Cancer Institute’s Pediatric Preclinical in Vivo Testing (PIVOT) Program, the Sarcoma Alliance for Research through the Collaboration Consortium, and the Children’s Oncology Group (COG). Dr. Gorlick’s early involvement with the COG led his laboratory to establish a bone tumor bank, which now is considered the world’s largest osteosarcoma tissue bank. He is a past president of the Connective Tissue Oncology Society and is current chair of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) Advisory Committee on Childhood Cancers.

Science of Oncology Award

Jennifer A. Pietenpol, PhD, is a professor of biochemistry at Vanderbilt University and a highly distinguished leader in scientific research known for her many contributions to the cancer field, including her transformative work on triple-negative breast cancer and the p53 family signaling network. Integrating expertise in tumor suppressor genes and molecular genetics with bioinformatic analyses of high-dimensional genomic data sets, she and her team subtyped difficult-to-treat triple-negative breast cancer. Her lab's research has impacted many areas of science and medicine, and she has brought her lab's discoveries to clinical impact for patients with breast cancer. Dr. Pietenpol is chief scientific and strategy officer and executive vice president for research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She serves as a chief scientific advisor for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and is an active participant in various advisory boards, including those of NCI comprehensive cancer centers. Her contributions to oncology have been recognized through her appointment by President Bush to the National Cancer Advisory Board, where she served a 6-year term. She was a key member of the Blue Ribbon Panel, advising former Vice President Biden's National Cancer Moonshot initiative.

Walther Cancer Foundation Supportive Oncology Award

Janet L. Abrahm, MD, FACP, FAAHPM, is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and an institute physician practicing palliative care at DFCI and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). In 2001, after 20 years as a practicing hematologist/oncologist, Dr. Abrahm created the first palliative care service and the first palliative care fellowship at DFCI and BWH. Dr. Abrahm has spent over 10 years as a faculty member in the national DFCI Master Course for oncologists, speaking on a broad array of cancer-related palliative care topics. Since 2010, Dr. Abrahm has participated internationally in the Education in Palliative and End-of-Life (EPEC)-Oncology course as a master teacher. Her work in this area has led to numerous accolades and awards as a thought leader, mentor, and educator. Along with her work at DFCI, Dr. Abrahm continues her work as an innovator in the field of palliative care, participating in a research team that leverages national clinical practice guidelines to harness clinical decision support to enhance oncologists’ management of their patients’ symptoms. On her website, JanetAbrahm.com, she provides oncology clinicians with resources for pain and symptom management, communication, end-of-life care, and other topics to help oncologists alleviate the suffering cancer causes for patients, their families, and themselves.

Hologic, Inc Endowed Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Award

Sharon H. Giordano, MD, MPH, FASCO, is a medical oncologist specializing in the care of patients with breast cancer. She serves as the Colin Powell Chair for Cancer Research, chair of the Department of Health Services Research, and a professor of medicine in the Department of Breast Medical Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Her work focuses on quality of health care delivery, disparities, male breast cancer, and outcomes for patients with breast cancer. She is currently funded through NCI, CPRIT, and Susan G. Komen. Dr. Giordano serves on the NCCN Breast Cancer Guidelines Panel and co-chairs several of ASCO’s breast cancer clinical practice guideline expert panels. She is dedicated to mentoring and developing the careers of trainees and junior faculty. Dr. Giordano’s work in mentoring was recognized with the Cancer Medicine Mentor of the Year Award and the MD Anderson President’s Excellence Award in Education and Mentorship. She received the MD Anderson Excellence in LEADership Award in 2019, the 2020 MD Anderson Cancer Center Jack and Beverly Randall Prize for Excellence in Cancer Care, and the President’s Recognition of Faculty Excellence Award, Clinical Quality Improvement in 2022.

International Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Award

Ines Vaz-Luis, MD, PhD, is a Portuguese medical oncologist and clinical researcher focused on cancer survivorship. Her background includes training and an instructor position at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute/Harvard Medical School. In 2016, she moved to Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France, to direct an innovative survivorship-focused clinical and research group, which now includes dozens of researchers and clinician-scientists and has transformed into an institutional flagship program focused on survivorship (INTERVAL). Dr. Vaz-Luis leads several national efforts focused on quality of life and cancer; she co-chairs the scientific development of the CANTO cohort (CANcer TOxicities, NCT01993498), and she is leading the development of a national digital platform to accelerate decentralized cancer research (WeShare). Over the past decade, her research focused on the quantification of treatment-related burden, the stratification of the risk of cancer-related toxicities, and the development and implementation of interventions to mitigate quality-of-life deterioration, including digitally enabled pathways of care. Since 2023, Dr. Vaz-Luis was appointed research director of the Interdisciplinary Department for Patient Pathway Organization (DIOPP) at Gustave Roussy. She is an executive Board member of the BIG, EBCC, ESMO, and ESO scientific committees, and she serves as an ASCO volunteer. Dr. Vaz-Luis has mentored numerous individuals, including resident clinicians, clinical and research fellows, PhD students, and faculty members.

ASCO and Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation, acknowledge the generous support of the American Cancer Society for the ASCO-American Cancer Society Award and Lecture in Cancer Prevention and the Endowed Excellence in Equity Award; Tony and Carrie Cheung for the B.J. Kennedy Geriatric Oncology Award; GlaxoSmithKline Oncology for the Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award and Lecture; Walther Cancer Foundation for the Walther Cancer Foundation Palliative and Supportive Care in Oncology Endowed Award and Lecture; Hologic, Inc for the Hologic, Inc Endowed Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Award; and Bristol Myers Squibb and Eisai Inc. for the International Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Award.

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