Press Releases

Richard C. Wender, M.D., to Join American Cancer Society as First-Ever Chief Cancer Control Officer
Jul 31, 2013
Philadelphia Physician to Become Senior-Most Staff Leader of the Society’s National and Global Cancer Control Initiatives

ATLANTA – July 31, 2013—Richard C. Wender, M.D., will join the American Cancer Society in a new position created as part of the Society’s work to align resources to focus on the most effective strategies to fight cancer on a national and global scale. As the Society’s first-ever Chief Cancer Control Officer, Dr. Wender represents the senior-most professional staff leader of the Society's national and global cancer control initiatives.

Wender’s new role will complement that of Society Chief Medical and Scientific Officer Otis Brawley, M.D.; while Brawley will focus on the Society’s epidemiologic and peer-reviewed cancer research programs and their translation to clinical practice, Wender will focus on the Society’s consumer and clinical guidance on cancer prevention and early detection and their implementation through evidence-based cancer control interventions. Together, they will ensure the Society has the necessary clinical expertise across the cancer continuum – from prevention and early detection to scientific discovery, treatment, cure, and end-of-life care. Wender will also work closely with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the Society’s sister advocacy organization, on matters of health policy, particularly those impacting prevention and early detection.

A Society volunteer for 26 years, Dr. Wender presently serves as Alumni Professor and Chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Philadelphia-based Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital, one of the nation’s most respected comprehensive departments of family medicine. 

“This is a pivotal moment in redesigning how we deliver health care in the United States, and the American Cancer Society is undergoing its own transformation process in part to respond to the challenge and opportunities of the moment,” said Dr. Wender. “No other public health organization has greater potential in my view to partner with others to help ensure that we provide the continuum of care from prevention and detection to treatment and survivorship.”

“We are tremendously excited to have Dr. Wender join the American Cancer Society in this key new role,” said John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., American Cancer Society CEO. “For decades as a volunteer, Rich has been a part of our evolution and growth. As a family practice clinician and accomplished expert in cancer prevention and screening, he is well positioned to lead our cancer control efforts focused on those strategies that can reach the most people and save the most lives. Our understanding of this disease and what to do about it is unprecedented. Rich can help us to firmly harness the opportunity in front of us to change the course of cancer and the very future of public health.”

Dr. Wender has served in a variety of leadership roles throughout his years of volunteer service. In 2006 he became the first primary care physician to be elected as Society president, a position he held as the Society launched its efforts in support of health care reform. He has served as chair of the Society’s Incidence and Mortality Committee and has been a member of the editorial advisory boards for the Society’s peer reviewed journal, CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. He currently chairs the Society's Cancer Screening Guideline Group. Dr. Wender is also a past recipient of the St. George National Award, the Society’s most prestigious volunteer recognition. 

Throughout his career, Dr. Wender’s major area of academic focus has been cancer prevention and screening. In collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Colorectal Roundtable, Dr. Wender helped develop many of the tools used across the country to promote colorectal cancer screening. He has also served as a co-investigator of a National Cancer Institute-funded study of tailored interventions to increase colorectal cancer screening. Dr. Wender is one of the lead authors on several of the American Cancer Society’s cancer screening guidelines, including the recent Society lung cancer screening guideline. He is also is a member of the editorial advisory board for the journal Patient Care.

Dr. Wender’s role is part of a transformative effort designed to save even more lives from cancer that also includes the addition of veteran sales and marketing executive Lin MacMaster to the newly created position of Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer (CRMO). In her role, MacMaster will provide strategic leadership to grow the fundraising portfolio of the nation’s largest voluntary health organization, while simultaneously guiding strategic efforts to ensure brand relevance to new and existing supporters.

Dr. Wender will immediately begin actively contributing to his new role and is expected to officially assume his duties on a full-time basis in November