By Cindy McGirk, RN, MBA, JD, Executive Director, NCCN Foundation & Legal Affairs
Autumn is a time of transition and exciting changes are also taking place with the NCCN Foundation.
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself as the new Executive Director of the NCCN Foundation. Prior to joining the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), I served as the Director of Development and Assistant General Counsel at Moffitt Cancer Center, an NCCN Member Institution located in Tampa, Florida. It is my personal goal to build on the groundwork previously laid since the inception of the NCCN Foundation, nearly two years ago, to advance the mission of NCCN to improve the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer.
NCCN Foundation Board
In August 2012, the NCCN Foundation Board held a working group meeting and welcomed its newest Board Members: Hon. Ellen Tauscher and Josh Bilenker, MD. Ms. Tauscher recently joined Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC as a Strategic Advisor. Previously, she was Special Envoy for Strategic Stability and Missile Defense, Vice Chair-Designate of the Atlantic Council's Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, and seven-term Member of Congress. Dr. Bilenker is a Partner at Aisling Capital, an investment firm in New York, NY, that supports leading healthcare companies in the development and commercialization of innovative heath care products. Prior to this role, Dr. Bilenker was a Medical Officer in the Office of Oncology Drug Products at U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). During his time with FDA, Dr. Bilenker performed clinical reviews of investigational new drug and biologic licensing applications.
NCCN Guidelines for Patients™
One of the NCCN Foundation's major initiatives is to seek funding for the NCCN Guidelines for Patients™, patient-friendly translations of the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®). In the past two years, NCCN has released a total of 11 NCCN Guidelines for Patients™ in this continuing series: Breast, Lung, Non-Small Cell Lung, Ovarian, Pancreatic, and Prostate Cancers, Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia, Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, Melanoma, Multiple Myeloma, and Lung Cancer Screening. Demand for the NCCN Guidelines for Patients™ continues to grow, with more than 46,000 printed guidelines distributed to date and demand for several disease sites far exceeding the print supply. Additionally, in just the past 12 months, page views of NCCN.com, which include the NCCN Guidelines for Patients™, exceeded two-million. Future plans include expansion of the NCCN Guidelines for Patients™ for additional disease sites and creation of companion webinars produced in collaboration with patient advocacy groups for further education and outreach to patients and caregivers.
Young Investigator Award
Another initiative of the NCCN Foundation is the Young Investigator Award (YIA) Program, which provides research funding to entry-level investigators (clinicians, physician-scientists, and oncology nurses) at NCCN Member Institutions. Since 2011, nine YIA awards have been granted for projects aimed at assessing or improving outcomes of cancer care. The YIA recipients who received awards during the first year of its offering will present their research at the inaugural NCCN General Poster Session during the NCCN 18th Annual Conference: Advancing the Standard of Cancer Care™. As an enhancement to this year's grant cycle, there are opportunities to fund YIA awards that are disease-site specific.
Contributions from Individuals
Finally, the NCCN Foundation is enhancing its donor-related infrastructure to better accommodate the philanthropic intents of individuals. Tools are in development to allow prospective donors opportunities to make contributions to support areas of their interest and to be recognized for their support.
It is evident that, in the past two years, the NCCN Foundation and its accomplishments have made a significant impact in the oncology community. In the coming months, I look forward to providing more details on these and new updates on ground-breaking work accomplished by NCCN and NCCN Foundation.