publication date: Nov. 20, 2020
Letter to the Editor
AACI: President-elect Biden has proven his unyielding commitment to defeating cancer
Karen E. Knudsen, MBA, PhD
President, Association of American Cancer Institutes
Enterprise director, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson
In a year of monumental health care and operational challenges for cancer centers, the Association of American Cancer Institutes marks with enthusiasm the electoral victory of a presidential candidate who has proven his unyielding commitment to defeating cancer.
AACI stands ready to work with President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, the new administration, and Congress to continue our collective efforts against both cancer and the coronavirus pandemic.
Representing the 102 major cancer centers of North America, and dedicated to accelerating progress against cancer, AACI formed a strong bond with President-elect Biden during his leadership of President Barack Obama’s Cancer Moonshot initiative, launched in 2016.
On the first stop of a tour following a Cancer Moonshot Summit, in Washington, D.C., Biden, then vice president, visited Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, in Cleveland, meeting with the center’s director, Dr. Stan Gerson, who was AACI’s president-elect at the time. Overall, 40 AACI cancer centers hosted regional Cancer Moonshot summits in 25 states.
Following the Cleveland meeting, AACI submitted a white paper to the Moonshot office, signaling the AACI cancer centers’ readiness to deliver high-quality care across networks and improve the availability of carepaths, innovation, proper referrals, and clinical trials to a larger population of patients. The document was signed by all cancer center directors at the national summit and marked the first step in Dr. Gerson’s network care AACI Presidential Initiative.
At the request of the Moonshot Task Force, cancer centers submitted development projects for consideration as part of a Cancer Moonshot investment portfolio. A total of 224 proposals from 55 AACI cancer centers were shared with Greg Simon, executive director for both the Biden Cancer Initiative and the Cancer Moonshot Task Force. Mr. Simon was later a featured speaker at the 2016 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting.
AACI looks forward to extending its key role in contributing to the federal government’s accelerated effort to eradicate cancer. As a consistent advocate for increased federal funding for cancer research, AACI this year asked Congress to ensure that additional funds be made available through the 21st Century Cures Act for the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot.
AACI also looks forward to working with the new administration in the current AACI Presidential Initiative to leverage the strength of the AACI cancer centers to understand and mitigate cancer disparities [The Cancer Letter, Oct. 16, 2020].
Finally, we applaud president-elect Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris as the nation’s first woman and person of color to be vice president. Her rise to the highest level of government sets an example for cancer centers seeking diversity and inclusion in both institutional leadership and the wider oncology workforce [The Cancer Letter, Oct. 9, 2020].