Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Appoints Gwen Nichols, MD, as Chief Medical Officer
Gwen Nichols, MD
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has announced Gwen Nichols, MD, as its new Chief Medical Officer. A physician and scientific researcher, Dr. Nichols has dedicated her career to advancing cures for cancers through a unique combination of clinical, academic, and pharmaceutical experience. She will play a critical role in advancing the Society’s goal to find cancer cures and ensure access to treatments for all patients with hematologic malignancies.
Dr. Nichols will oversee the following LLS’s scientific research portfolio, patient-access services, and policy and advocacy initiatives:
- Scientific Research: LLS has invested more than $1 billion in research to advance breakthrough therapies, including a $49.3 million commitment to new multiyear research grants this past year alone. Dr. Nichols will be responsible for managing LLS’s diverse research grants program, which currently funds nearly 300 projects at renowned medical institutions around the world, and its Therapy Acceleration Program®, which expedites treatments by supporting promising projects and clinical trials through collaborations with biotechnology companies.
- Patient-Access Services: As the leading source of free blood cancer information, education, and support, LLS has helped more than one million callers through its Information Resource Center, a toll-free call center staffed with master’s-level health-care professionals, and has provided co-pay assistance to more than 73,000 patients. Dr. Nichols will also supervise the development and delivery of LLS’s array of support services for patients with blood cancer, including its Information Resource Center, co-pay assistance program, educational resources, online patient community, support groups, and peer-to-peer programs.
- Policy and Advocacy: Through its nationwide grassroots network of more than 100,000 volunteer advocates, LLS advocates for policies to remove barriers to care. LLS helped secure oral parity legislation in 42 states and Washington, DC, ensuring that patients who obtain their cancer medications from a pharmacy and self-administer their treatments receive equal coverage to those who are treated in the clinic. At the federal level, LLS played a critical role in helping to pass the 21st Century Cures Act. As part of LLS’s leadership and role as the voice for all patients with blood cancer, Dr. Nichols will direct strategic public policy and advocacy agendas at the state and federal levels, providing input from patients to help improve access to care and accelerate cures.
“With extensive experience providing care directly to patients and working in the research laboratory to study cancer treatments, Gwen will elevate our ability to lead the charge in advancing cures for blood cancers and improving the lives of patients and their families,” said Louis J. DeGennaro, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Most recently, Dr. Nichols was Oncology Site Head of the Roche Translational Clinical Research Center, where she worked to develop new cancer therapies, translating them from the laboratory to clinical trials. Prior to joining Roche in 2007, Dr. Nichols worked at Columbia University for more than 10 years, where she served as Director of the Hematologic Malignancies Program. ■