Crystal S. Denlinger, MD, FACP, Named New Chief Executive Officer of NCCN
Crystal S. Denlinger, MD, FACP
On August 23, 2023, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN) announced Crystal S. Denlinger, MD, FACP, as incoming Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Dr. Denlinger, who is currently Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of NCCN, will lead the global guidelines organization following the upcoming retirement of longtime CEO Robert W. Carlson, MD. Dr. Denlinger will assume her new role with NCCN on October 9, 2023.
A Career-Long Commitment to Cancer Care
Dr. Denlinger has long been a global cancer care leader at the NCCN and other institutions. She was named an NCCN Young Investigator Awardee in 2012 and received the NCCN Rodger Winn Award in 2018 for exemplifying leadership, drive, and commitment in service to developing the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology®. Before being named Chief Scientific Officer in January 2021, Dr. Denlinger served as Chair of the NCCN Guidelines Panel for Survivorship and was a member of the Bone, Esophageal/Gastric, and Occult Primary Cancers Panel; the Panel for Older Adult Oncology; the JNCCN—Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Editorial Board; and numerous abstract and scientific review committees. She also participated in the development of the NCCN Harmonized Guidelines for Sub-Saharan Africa.
Since joining the NCCN full-time, Dr. Denlinger has provided organizational guidance, spearheaded pilot programs for the Health Equity Report Card, overseen oncology research grant facilitation through the NCCN Oncology Research Program, and championed outreach efforts to improve cancer care and policy worldwide. She has also managed the NCCN Drugs & Biologics Compendium, NCCN Biomarkers Compendium, and the library of NCCN Chemotherapy Order Templates.
“Dr. Denlinger is the perfect person to build on Dr. Carlson's impressive and enduring work leading this premier oncology organization,” highlighted John W. Sweetenham, MD, FRCP, FACP, FASCO, Professor of Medicine and Associate Director for Cancer Network Clinical Affairs at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern as well as Chair of the NCCN Board of Directors. “She has shown a career-long commitment to improving outcomes and experiences for all [patients] with cancer. Dr. Denlinger is beloved throughout [the] NCCN and the larger oncology community. Her tireless efforts and excellence treating patients, advancing new research, forging partnerships, and advocating on Capitol Hill will help [the] NCCN continue to define and advance high-quality, high-value, patient-centered cancer care globally for years to come,” he stated.
Dr. Denlinger previously served as Chief of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology, Deputy Director of the Early Drug Development Phase 1 Program, Director of the Survivorship Program, and Associate Professor in the Department of Hematology/Oncology at the Fox Chase Cancer Center—where she continues to serve on the Adjunct Faculty.
As CEO, Dr. Denlinger will maintain the library of NCCN Guidelines; lead programs advancing global collaborations, new oncology research, peer-reviewed publications, patient information, and cancer policy; and supervise a staff of more than 150 employees at the NCCN global headquarters, located just outside Philadelphia.
“I have wanted to be a doctor since first grade and an oncologist since high school. I've experienced firsthand what it means to be there for a loved one while they face cancer, both eary-stage and advanced disease,” emphasized Dr. Denlinger. “In my years of seeing patients, managing clinical trials, and helping to update international, evidence-based standards for care, I have seen tremendous progress in cancer therapy and outcomes. I am eager to continue serving wherever I can do the most good for the greatest number of [patients]—which is why I am so honored and excited to accept the role of CEO with [the] NCCN. I am grateful to Dr. Carlson as well as the NCCN Board of Directors and all of my colleagues for this opportunity,” she added.
“We will forever be grateful for the passion and expertise Dr. Carlson brought to the role of NCCN CEO and the tremendous difference he has made in the lives of [patients] with cancer and their loved ones … over the course of his incomparable career,” noted Dr. Sweetenham. “He matched unwavering commitment to excellence with an equally unwavering commitment to kindness and compassion. This was particularly visible in his work partnering with local experts to make [the] NCCN Guidelines more accessible across countries and regions with differing resource levels. He has overseen [the] NCCN's growing work to fight for equity in cancer care and the inclusion of respectful, gender-affirming language throughout the NCCN Guidelines. [The] NCCN's recognition and influence relating to national and global cancer care policy also increased dramatically during his tenure,” he underscored.
“I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Denlinger as [the] NCCN's new CEO and look forward to seeing [the] NCCN continue to build on our numerous and long-standing successes helping all [patients] with cancer to live better lives. It has been an extreme honor to work with so many dedicated colleagues, patients, and advocates to profoundly improve access to high-quality cancer care over the years,” Dr. Carlson concluded.
The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.