Howard A. Burris, MD, FACP, 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 2022 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago.
“This year’s Special Awards recipients have made tremendous contributions to oncology and people living with cancer,” said Howard A. Burris, MD, FACP, FASCO, Past President of ASCO and Chair of the Joint Special Awards Selection Committee. “It is our honor to recognize their inspiring achievements and their commitment to conquering cancer.”
The 2022 Special Award Recipients follow:
Allen Lichter Visionary Leader Award
Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FACP, FSCT, FASCO
Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FACP, FSCT, FASCO, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago, having retired in 2021 from his position of Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of ASCO. He is also a Past President of ASCO, having served in the role during 2008–2009, and a former Conquer Cancer Board member. Before joining the ASCO staff in 2013, Dr. Schilsky spent much of his career at the University of Chicago, where he joined the faculty in 1984. Over the next nearly 30 years, Dr. Schilsky served in many leadership roles, including as Director of the University of Chicago Cancer Research Center, Associate Dean for Clinical Research in the Biological Sciences Division, and Chief of Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Medicine. From 1995 to 2010, Dr. Schilsky served as Chair of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B, a national cooperative clinical research group funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), now part of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology. Dr. Schilsky is a highly respected leader in the field of clinical oncology and specializes in new drug development and treatment of gastrointestinal cancers.
ASCO–American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Award
Electra D. Paskett, PhD
Electra D. Paskett, PhD, is Director of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control in the College of Medicine, Professor in the Division of Epidemiology in the College of Public Health, and Associate Director for Population Sciences and Community Outreach and Co-Program Leader of the Cancer Control Program in the Comprehensive Cancer Center of The Ohio State University (OSU). She is also founding Director of the Center for Cancer Health Equity at the James Cancer Hospital. Her studies use multilevel interventions in transdisciplinary teams with community-based participatory research to identify and intervene on factors causing disparities among underserved populations, such as social and ethnic minority groups and rural/underserved populations. Dr. Paskett is the lead MPI of a program project funded by the National Cancer Institute that builds on her prior work in understanding cervical cancer disparities in Appalachia, by testing the implementation of three projects simultaneously—smoking cessation, increasing human papillomavirus vaccination, and addressing cervical cancer screening—among patients in 39 health centers throughout Appalachian areas of four states, in conjunction with investigators from the University of Kentucky, West Virginia University, and University of Virginia.
B.J. Kennedy Geriatric Oncology Award
Etienne Brain, MD, PhD
Etienne Brain, MD, PhD, is a medical oncologist at the Institut Curie in Saint-Cloud, France. He obtained his MD in medical oncology in 1993 and his PhD in 2005 from Paris-Descartes University. Dr. Brain is committed to clinical research in breast cancer and older populations, through the networks of the cooperative groups Unicancer, the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), and the Breast International Group. His interest focuses on the influence of competing risks for mortality on adjuvant systemic treatment in older patients with breast cancer. Dr. Brain is a Past President of the International Society of Geriatric Oncology (SIOG). He currently chairs the intergroup of clinical research in geriatric oncology, DIALOG, labeled by the Institut National du Cancer. He is a member of the Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group steering committee and an executive board member of the European Breast Cancer Council and EORTC, of which he has been Secretary General since 2021. He also has coauthored several publications in peer-reviewed journals.
David Karnofsky Memorial Award
Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD, FASCO
Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD, FASCO, is Chief of the Immuno-Oncology Service, Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program, Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, and holds the Lloyd J. Old Chair in Clinical Investigation at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). Dr. Wolchok is a clinician-scientist exploring innovative immunotherapeutic strategies in laboratory models and a principal investigator in numerous pivotal clinical trials. He was instrumental in the clinical development leading to the approval of ipilimumab for advanced melanoma and has received numerous honors for his work. Dr. Wolchok supervises a National Institutes of Health (NIH) R01-funded basic science laboratory, which is focused on investigating novel immunotherapeutic agents in preclinical laboratory models. The focus of his translational research laboratory is to investigate innovative means to modulate the immune response to cancer as well as to better understand the mechanistic basis for sensitivity and resistance to currently available immunotherapies. The David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award and Lecture will be presented on June 4, 2022.
Excellence in Equity Award
Fumiko Chino, MD
Fumiko Chino, MD, is Assistant Attending in Radiation Oncology at MSK in New York City, with a research focus on patient-reported outcomes, health equity/access, and improving affordability of cancer care. Dr. Chino’s commitment to improving the physical, financial, and psychological outcomes of patients with cancer has been ongoing since medical training, residency, and now as an early-career investigator. Her primary focus has been on the financial toxicity of cancer treatment—how the financial stress of cancer treatment can cause both subjective and objective strain on patients during active treatment, survivorship, and end of life. Dr. Chino has worked within a collaborative team at MSK including immigrant health and cancer disparities, social work, and health policy and outcomes and served as a director within the Costs of Care Group, a nongovernmental organization focused on affordability. Her work in diversity, equity, and inclusion branched from her work within financial toxicity, given the unique barriers that specific populations face when accessing and affording quality health care.
Excellence in Teaching Award
Ravi Salgia, MD, PhD
Ravi Salgia, MD, PhD, is the Arthur and Rosalie Kaplan Chair and Professor in Medical Oncology. He leads one of the largest medical oncology departments on the West Coast at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is a clinician-scientist with expertise in thoracic malignancies and has trained many students, fellows, faculty, and health-care providers. He is internationally recognized for his outstanding contributions to science and medicine, particularly for his work on targeted and immune therapies in lung cancer, as well as for excellence in mentoring young physicians and scientists. Teaching represents a cornerstone of his career, and his mentees have had a transformative impact on the field. Dr. Salgia serves on various committees and advisory boards and panels for the NCI, including its study sections.
Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award
Kathy S. Albain, MD, FACP, FASCO
Kathy S. Albain, MD, FACP, FASCO, is the Huizenga Family Endowed Chair in Oncology Research and Professor of Medicine at the Stritch School of Medicine of Loyola University Chicago. She is a member of the Division of Hematology/Oncology and devotes her clinical practice to patients with breast and lung cancers at Loyola’s Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center. She is Director of its Breast Clinical Research Program, Co-Director of the Multidisciplinary Breast Oncology Center, and Director of the Thoracic Oncology Program. Dr. Albain’s national research and advisory activities have pertained to breast and lung cancers, cancer survivors, and special populations research. She chaired the SWOG Committee on Special Populations and was recognized in 2003 with the Susan G. Komen Professor of Survivorship Award. Dr. Albain then served as Co-Chair of the SWOG Cancer Survivorship Committee through 2010. In 2019, Dr. Albain was appointed Vice Chair of SWOG for Clinical Trials Partnerships. Dr. Albain is a member of SWOG’s working groups for breast and lung cancers, devoting her career to research in both diseases. She is a member of the international Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group and its Steering Committee. Dr. Albain was a charter member of the NIH Committee on Research on Women’s Health and served on the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Ophira Ginsburg, MD, MSc, FRCP (C)
Ophira Ginsburg, MD, MSc, FRCP (C), is a medical oncologist and global women’s health researcher with nearly 20 years of experience in global cancer prevention and control. Formerly based at the University of Toronto, Canada, she was a medical officer at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland (2015–2016), and has served as an ad hoc consultant to several UN agencies. From 2017 to 2021, she was Director of the High-Risk Cancer Genetics Program at the Perlmutter Cancer Center, an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center, and Associate Professor in the Departments of Population Health and Medicine at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. In June 2021, Dr. Ginsburg was appointed as a Senior Visiting Scientist at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the WHO’s specialized cancer agency. Her research is focused on improving equitable access to breast and cervical cancer prevention and control. She has authored more than 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals. She currently co-chairs The Lancet Commission on Women and Cancer, which will publish its report on International Women’s Day 2023.
Patient Advocate Award
Patricia A. Spears
Patricia A. Spears is a more than 20-year breast cancer survivor and cancer research patient advocate and has more than 30 years of laboratory research experience in microbiology and immunology. She is currently working as a scientific research manager and patient advocate at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, where she leads the UNC Lineberger Patient Advocates for Research Council and the UNC Breast SPORE Advocates. At UNC, she focuses on communicating research to the public and facilitates the engagement of patient advocates with Lineberger researchers. Ms. Spears has concentrated her advocacy on clinical trials and serves as the UNC Lineberger advocate member of the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium. She has volunteered on several ASCO committees, including the TAPUR Molecular Tumor Board, the Social Media Working Group, and as an advocate grant reviewer for the ASCO Young Investigator Awards. She has also participated on several ASCO guidelines panels and is currently a member of the ASCO Breast Cancer Guideline Advisory Group. She has been an advocate for the National Clinical Trials Network since 2008 and is currently the Associate Group Chair for Advocacy for the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, Chair of the Alliance Patient Advocate Committee, as well as a member of the Breast Cancer Committee.
Pediatric Oncology Award
Amar Gajjar, MD
Amar Gajjar, MD, is Chair of Pediatric Medicine and the Scott and Tracy Hamilton Endowed Chair in Brain Tumor Research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. Dr. Gajjar is the principal or co-principal investigator of several St. Jude–initiated clinical trials featuring novel treatments for pediatric brain tumors. He has focused much of his effort on medulloblastoma, developing innovative therapies for patients with both newly diagnosed and relapsed disease. Dr. Gajjar focuses on improving survival rates for patients and mitigating long- and short-term effects caused by treatment. He has been instrumental in the growth of the Neuro-Oncology Program at St. Jude and has developed international collaborations with leading brain tumor programs in Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.
Science of Oncology Award
Craig B. Thompson, MD
Craig B. Thompson, MD, is President and Chief Executive Officer of MSK and a board-certified medical oncologist with 37 years of clinical experience. Dr. Thompson has extensive research experience in cancer, immunology, and translational medicine and currently leads a laboratory at MSK. In collaboration with Carl H. June, MD, he was the first to describe the unique co-stimulatory properties of CD28 in augmenting lymphoid effector function, proliferation, and survival. The Thompson Laboratory identified the evolutionary duplication of CD28 into CD28 and CTLA-4 and, together with the Bluestone Laboratory, demonstrated that CTLA-4 had an inhibitory effect on immune activation. Patents arising from this work have been licensed for the development of abatacept and for use in T-cell cloning and chimeric antigen receptor T-cell production. Dr. Thompson has published more than 455 peer-reviewed articles and holds more than 30 patents. The Science of Oncology Award and Lecture will be presented on June 4, 2022.
Walther Cancer Foundation Supportive Oncology Award
Eduardo Bruera, MD
Eduardo Bruera, MD, is the F.T. McGraw Chair in the Treatment of Cancer at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center as well as established and chaired the Department of Palliative, Rehabilitation, and Integrative Medicine. Dr. Bruera has been interested in the development of palliative care clinical and research programs internationally, particularly in the developing world, where he helped in the establishment of numerous palliative care programs in the Latin American region, India, and different areas of Europe. Dr. Bruera has trained hundreds of physicians, nurses, and other health-care professionals in the different aspects of the clinical delivery of palliative care and has received several national and international awards.
Hologic, Inc Endowed Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Award
S. Gail Eckhardt, MD, FASCO
S. Gail Eckhardt, MD, FASCO, is a tenured Professor at The University of Texas (UT) at Austin’s Dell Medical School, and she is also the inaugural Director of the Livestrong Cancer Institutes, Chair of the Department of Oncology, and Associate Dean of Cancer Programs. Prior to joining UT Austin, Dr. Eckhardt was at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, where she was Division Head of Medical Oncology from 2006 to 2014, Associate Director for Translational Research at the University of Colorado Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Director of the Phase I Program and Fellowship. Her area of interest is in the preclinical and early clinical development of combinations of molecularly targeted compounds, with a laboratory focus on colorectal cancer. Dr. Eckhardt has served on numerous committees/study sections, including the ASCO Molecular Oncology Task Force, the ASCO Board of Directors, the FDA Oncology Drugs Advisory Committee, and the NCI Cancer Centers Study Section. She is a member of the NCI Investigational Drug Steering Committee and serves on 11 external advisory boards of NCI-designated cancer centers, was the lead mentor in ASCO’s 2018–2019 Leadership Development Program, and currently is a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI). Dr. Eckhardt is the principal investigator on grants involving early clinical trials and colorectal cancer research, has conducted numerous phase I and II clinical trials, and has published more than 200 manuscripts.
International Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Award
Cynthia Villarreal-Garza, MD, DSc
Cynthia Villarreal-Garza, MD, DSc, is Professor at the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey and Medical Oncology dDirector of the Breast Cancer Center of Hospital Zambrano Hellion TecSalud of Tecnologico de Monterrey. She founded and leads Joven & Fuerte (“Young & Strong”), the Mexican Young Breast Cancer Program. She is also co-founder of MILC, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to improving medical and supportive care for patients with breast cancer in Mexico. She was awarded the 2017 Premio Miguel Alemán Valdés en el Área de Salud, 2017 Premio Mujer Tec, 2013 Premio Bienial de FUNSALUD a la Investigación en Cáncer de Mama, 2014 Avon Foundation Global Breast Cancer Clinical Scholars Program, a 2010 ASCO Merit Award, and a 2009 ASCO International Development and Education Award (IDEA). She has published more than 120 peer-reviewed manuscripts and is a member of the National System of Researchers. Her projects dedicated to improving the care and living conditions of patients with breast cancer in Mexico have received funding from Susan G. Komen, Avon Mexico, CIMAB, and CONACYT, among others. Education and mentoring have been one of the most fulfilling aspects of her career. She has mentored medical school junior research fellows annually since 2013, and during the past 7 years, she has led the breast cancer fellowship program, the first of its kind in Mexico and one of the two programs that currently exist in Latin America. In addition, she serves as Thesis Director in the MSc and DSc programs of the School of Medicine of Tecnologico de Monterrey. Dr. Villarreal-Garza looks forward to sharing her knowledge and experience with students, physicians-in-training, and specialists for many more years to come.
ASCO and Conquer Cancer acknowledge the generous support of the American Cancer Society for the ASCO–American Cancer Society Cancer Prevention Award; GlaxoSmithKline Oncology for the Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award; Walther Cancer Foundation for the Walther Cancer Foundation Supportive Oncology Award; Hologic, Inc for the Hologic, Inc Endowed Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Award; and Eisai Inc. and Novartis Oncology for the International Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Award.