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Former U.S. Ambassador to Lead American Cancer Society Global Health Work
Sally G. Cowal Brings Health, Government and Nonprofit Experience to New Role

ATLANTA September 4, 2013 – The American Cancer Society has named Sally G. Cowal, a former U.S. ambassador and U.S. Foreign Service Officer, senior vice president, Global Health. Cowal brings her deep knowledge of and influence in the global health, government and nonprofit sectors to this new role and joins the Society at a critical time as the organization transforms to save thousands of lives per day worldwide from cancer,

With global cancer deaths expected to rise to 13.2 million by 2030, the American Cancer Society is committed to making cancer a priority on global health agendas. Cowal will lead the Society’s efforts to reduce the global burden of cancer primarily through advocacy for effective tobacco control measures; improvement of access to cancer screening, treatment and pain relief; and collaborations with other cancer control organizations, advocates and governments.

“Sally’s experience and influence in the global health arena is a huge asset to our organization, especially as we step up our efforts to fight cancer worldwide,” said John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., CEO of the American Cancer Society. “We have no doubt Sally’s leadership of this important function will help us make continued progress in reducing the global threat of cancer.”

Cowal has been a key contributor to the public health and nonprofit arenas, having helped found the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS in Switzerland and serving as its director for external relations to raise awareness of AIDS as a public health and economic issue, as well as serving as founder, president and CEO of the Cuba Policy Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the study of the benefits of expanding trade and people-to-people contact with Cuba.

"We've arrived at a threshold of opportunity to put cancer on the global agenda in the same way we did with AIDS 20 years ago," said Cowal. “The American Cancer Society is an organization with the knowledge, experience, and reach via its massive grassroots network to mobilize global stakeholders against this disease and I am privileged to lead this effort on its behalf.”

Cowal served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, appointed by former Presidents George H.W. Bush and William J. Clinton. Cowal has also served as U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, minister counselor for public affairs at the U.S. embassy in Mexico, and counselor for political affairs at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.

She comes to the American Cancer Society most recently from Population Service International (PSI), a nonprofit organization serving 65 developing countries to improve the lives and health of poor and vulnerable people. As senior vice president and chief liaison officer for the past 10 years, she led the organization’s efforts to combat chronic diseases – including cancer – across the globe, and was responsible for new resource mobilization, advocacy and communications among other duties.

Cowal is a graduate of De Pauw University (B.A., 1966) and George Washington University (M.P.A., 1969).

About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society's efforts have contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. Thanks in part to our progress nearly 14 million Americans who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will celebrate more birthdays this year. As we mark our 100th birthday in 2013, we're determined to finish the fight against cancer. We're finding cures as the nation’s  largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air, and more. For more information, to get help, or to join the fight, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.


Press Contact: Busola Afolabi | busola.afolabi@cancer.org