Press Releases

American Cancer Society Names Dr. Karen Knudsen as the 2022 ResearcHERS National Ambassador and First Female Scientist/CEO Focused on Increasing Women in Research
Apr 1, 2022

ATLANTA – APRIL 1, 2022 – Today the American Cancer Society announced its CEO, Dr. Karen Knudsen, as the 2022 ResearcHERS: Women Fighting Cancer National Ambassador. The annual initiative engages business and community leaders who identify as women to raise funds that directly support women-led cancer research. Dr. Knudsen is the first female scientist CEO in the organization’s 108-year history.

The ResearcHERS initiative spotlights the life experiences and discoveries of women in research. It aims to inspire the next generation of girls to pursue their dreams of a career in science. In her role, Dr. Knudsen will lend her leadership and experience to amplify the campaign and raise awareness about the need to support female researchers and oncologists.

 “We know that women are underfunded when it comes to men, even though they are coming through MD and PhD programs at approximately equal rates,” said Knudsen. “Through the pandemic, we’ve seen more women than ever leave STEM careers, including oncology research and oncology care. This program is now more important than ever.”

According to UIS data, less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women and 19 of the 616 Nobel Prizes awarded between 1901 and 2019 in Physics, Science, Medicine and Physiology were awarded to women (Yale Scientific).

To date, the Society has funded 49 scientists who were later awarded the Nobel Prize; none so far have identified as female. Dr. Knudsen emphasized, “so far.” Additionally, ACS is funding $400 million in extramural research. Approximately half of the grantees who disclose gender identify as female; most are early in their careers.

ACS is looking for business and community leaders to serve as ResearcHERS ambassadors in 20 communities throughout the nation.  These ambassadors will raise a minimum of $2500 and help ACS fund women-led cancer research grants and increase awareness of the ResearcHERS program and purpose. The 2022 ResearcHERS campaign is proudly presented by SYNA Medical.

The announcement was made this week at the 2022 ResearcHERS National Kickoff event. A replay is available at here.

For more information about ResearcHERS: Women Fighting Cancer, visit  To learn more about the American Cancer society’s cancer research work, visit


The American Cancer Society is on a mission to free the world from cancer. We invest in lifesaving research, provide 24/7 information and support, and work to ensure that individuals in every community have access to cancer prevention, detection, and treatment. For more information, visit




For further information: American Cancer Society,