Press Releases

American Cancer Society and ACS CAN Applaud Announcement of Newly Named National Institutes of Health Director
May 15, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 15, 2023— The Biden Administration announced today the formal nomination of National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director Monica M. Bertagnolli, MD as the next Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This role is critical to ensuring ongoing innovation in medical research, including in oncology, and Bertagnolli could not be a better choice to lead the NIH into the bold future. In addition to previously holding many professional memberships and appointments, Bertagnolli also served on the American Cancer Society (ACS)’s Board of Directors.

“In her 8-month tenure as National Cancer Institute Director, Dr. Bertagnolli quickly demonstrated her strategic and comprehensive approach to accelerating progress in cancer prevention, detection and treatment,” said Dr. Karen E. Knudsen, CEO of ACS and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “Among her accomplishments in the last half year, Dr. Bertagnolli released a robust National Cancer Plan, laying out an inspired roadmap to advance the Cancer Moonshot Initiative, to end cancer as we know it.”

Prior to joining NCI, Dr. Bertagnolli was at Harvard University for more than two decades. At Harvard Medical School, she held the position of the Richard E. Wilson Professor of Surgery in the Field of Surgical Oncology. She was also a member of the Gastrointestinal Cancer and Sarcoma Disease Centers at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. 

“ACS and ACS CAN strongly support this choice as the next NIH director. Dr. Bertagnolli is not only an exceptional surgical oncologist, innovative scientist, and leader with a strong track record of transforming organizations, she also has firsthand knowledge of the patient perspective as well,” said Knudsen. “Dr. Bertagnolli understands not only the importance of advancing discovery but the criticality of ensuring that innovation is accessible to all. A fierce advocate for addressing healthcare disparities, particularly in underserved and rural communities, she played a key role in helping to advance the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)’s work on Medicaid expansion."

Dr. Bertagnolli’s experience collaborating across the medical oncology, radiation oncology and pathology fields and expertise in clinical trials will all benefit work across the institutes.

“We wholeheartedly applaud the announcement from President Biden for this outstanding choice and ACS CAN calls on the U.S. Senate to swiftly confirm Dr. Bertagnolli's nomination," Dr. Knudsen said. “We look forward to working with Dr. Bertagnolli toward our shared vision to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. ACS and ACS CAN value our relationship and partnership with the NIH in aligning priorities around research that is intended to improve the lives of all those across the country, including cancer patients and their families.”



About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is a leading cancer-fighting organization with a vision to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. For more than 100 years, we have been improving the lives of people with cancer and their families as the only organization combating cancer through advocacy, research, and patient support. We are committed to ensuring everyone has an opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer. To learn more, visit or call our 24/7 helpline at 1-800-227-2345. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN engages volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to ensure that our cities, our states, and our nation adopt evidence-based public policies that improve the lives of people with cancer and their families. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, detect, 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 advanced proven tobacco control measures. We stand with our volunteers, working to change public policy to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. Join the fight by visiting

For further information: Michele Money-Carson, American Cancer Society,; Alissa Crispino, America Cancer Society Cancer Action Network,