Press Releases

American Cancer Society and ACS CAN Applaud Selection of Newly Named National Cancer Institute Director
Jul 22, 2022


Michele Money-Carson, American Cancer Society


Emily Burr or Alissa Crispino

America Cancer Society Cancer Action Network 

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 22, 2022— Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD, will serve as the National Cancer Institute (NCI)’s new director. This role is critical to ensuring ongoing innovation in oncology and Bertagnolli could not be a better choice to lead NCI into the bold future that is cancer discovery. In addition to holding many professional memberships and appointments Bertagnolli also serves on the American Cancer Society (ACS)’s Board of Directors.

“Dr. Bertagnolli’s candor, insight, and leadership experience made her an invaluable contributor in the deliberations of our national Board of Directors, and we will miss her,” said Michael Marquardt, ACS national board chair. “She will be an excellent advocate for cancer patients and their families at the National Cancer Institute. Together we can end cancer as we know it, for everyone.”

Bertagnolli is joining NCI from Harvard University, where she has been since 1999. At Harvard Medical School, she holds the position of the Richard E. Wilson Professor of Surgery in the Field of Surgical Oncology. She is also a member of the Gastrointestinal Cancer and Sarcoma Disease Centers at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center.  

“ACS and ACS CAN are strongly supportive of this choice as the next NCI director. Dr. Bertagnolli is an exceptional surgical oncologist, innovative scientist, and leader who has a strong track record of transforming organizations to effect positive change,” said Dr. Karen E. Knudsen, CEO of ACS and ACS CAN. “She is also a fierce advocate for addressing healthcare disparities, particularly in underserved and rural communities. Through her work with ACS, she has been instrumental in the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)’s work on Medicaid expansion.”

With a focus on treating tumors from gastrointestinal diseases, Bertagnolli collaborates with colleagues in medical oncology, radiation oncology, and pathology to treat cancer patients in a tertiary care setting. She also serves as the group chair of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, a nation-wide NCI-funded clinical trials group, and the chief executive officer of Alliance Foundation Trials, LLC, a not-for-profit corporation that conducts international cancer clinical trials.

“We commend President Biden for this outstanding choice and look forward to working with Dr. Bertagnolli toward our shared goals. ACS and ACS CAN value our relationship and partnership with the NCI in aligning priorities around research that is intended to improve the lives of cancer patients and their families,” Dr. Knudsen said. “ACS and ACS CAN look forward to working with Dr. Bertagnolli to continue the essential research necessary to ensure everyone has a fair and just opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer.”



About ACS

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

About ACS CANat 20  

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that saves lives. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and made workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free. As we mark our 20th anniversary, we’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers and save more lives from cancer. Join the fight by visiting