President Joe Biden has appointed world-renowned surgical oncologist Dr. Monica Bertagnolli as the new Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Dr. Bertagnolli will be the 16th American and the first woman to lead the country’s largest biomedical research institute.
The NCI is integral to the nation’s principal agency for cancer research and funding and will be an important partner in the White House’s “Cancer Moonshot” initiative, which aims to accelerate the rate of progress against cancer.
A practicing surgical oncologist, Dr. Bertagnolli joins the NCI at a time of renewed attention to the Cancer Moonshot, one of President Biden’s signature initiatives.
In February, the Biden administration announced new goals to reduce the cancer death rate in the United States by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years and create a more supportive experience for patients and families.
One of the most powerful voices in the country for cancer patients, particularly for those in rural and remote communities, Dr. Bertagnolli has a history of advancing patient-focused programs that incorporate learnings directly from patient experiences to build more inclusive models of care.
“I look forward to working with Dr. Bertagnolli to advance the President’s call to end cancer as we know it,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Dr. Bertagnolli’s decades of cancer research expertise around patient-centered care and her work to create more inclusive clinical trials will be instrumental as we accelerate the rate of research and innovation to fight cancer.”
Dr. Bertagnolli, 63, currently serves as professor of surgery in surgical oncology at Harvard Medical School as well as a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She is also a member of the Gastrointestinal Cancer and Sarcoma Disease Centers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, one of the top cancer hospitals in the world.
Dr. Bertagnolli possesses extensive leadership experience, including serving as president of American Society of Clinical Oncology in 2018.
Throughout her career, Dr. Bertagnolli has been at the forefront of the field of clinical oncology, advancing, in particular, current understanding of the gene that promotes gastrointestinal cancer development. As a physician-scientist, she led gastrointestinal science initiatives from 1994 to 2011 within the NCI-funded Cancer Cooperative Groups. In addition, from 2007-2018, she served as the chief of the division of Surgical Oncology for the Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center.
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