Press Releases

American Cancer Society Forum to Address Cancer’s Economic Impact on the Workforce
Jun 18, 2009
Society to Host Landmark Conference Focused on Employee Wellness, Corporate Community Involvement

ATLANTA 2009/06/18 -The American Cancer Society will host its inaugural Corporate Impact Conference June 18-19 in Chicago to help large corporate employers diminish the impact of cancer on the workforce and help improve workplace productivity. “Companies Changing the Course of Cancer” is designed to guide businesses in potentially lowering health care costs related to cancer and improving their overall bottom line.

American Cancer Society Chief Executive Officer John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., and UAL Corporation and United Airlines Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Glenn F. Tilton will co-chair the conference and participate in a CEO forum along with peers from other major U.S. corporations, to discuss improving the health of their organizations’ workforces.

“The estimated total cost of cancer in the U.S. is more than $228 billion annually in health care expenses and lost productivity,” Seffrin said, “By helping corporations create healthier workforces, we will collectively address these staggering costs, increase adoption of healthy lifestyles that reduce obesity and tobacco use, and ensure that people get screened for cancer so it can be diagnosed at the earliest, most treatable stage, ultimately saving lives and creating more birthdays.”

“The Impact Conference brings together the experience of numerous national corporate executives to address one of America’s leading concerns, health care, and particularly cancer. I am pleased to join this group of CEOs in focusing our collective wisdom and energies on how we might have more of an impact on this disease that affects us all,” said Tilton.

Many corporations have identified cancer as a significant factor impacting current and future workforce health and business outcomes. The American Cancer Society is uniquely positioned to be a critical source of information with custom solutions designed to address these issues. For this conference, designed for corporate executives with responsibility for their company’s overall health management or community engagement initiatives, the Society is bringing together a presentation team of prominent experts from medicine and science, corporate wellness, community involvement and philanthropy, and offering a number of innovative tools and programs to motivate employees to stay well by reducing the risk of cancer.

Otis W. Brawley, M.D., the American Cancer Society’s chief medical officer, will address the “State of Cancer and its Effect on Companies” during the conference’s opening session. Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease Executive Director Kenneth Thorpe, Ph.D., will deliver the conference’s keynote address. Dr. Thorpe also serves as professor and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at Emory University in Atlanta.

Among company health/wellness practitioners leading Impact Conference workshops are Quest Diagnostics Chief Medical Officer Jon Cohen, M.D., and Hewitt Associates, Inc., Senior Consultant John Vlajkovic, who will address the topic, “Human Metrics of Success: Case Studies of ROI Models Across Industry Type and Size,” and Caterpillar, Inc., Medical Director, Health Promotion, Michael Taylor, M.D., and Safeway, Inc., Vice President, Strategic Health Initiatives Brad Wolfsen, who will focus on “Successful Strategies to Increase Employee Utilization of Health Benefits.”

The conference will also cover the importance of workplace philanthropic engagement programs as a way to increase employee morale. Practitioners leading corporate citizenship workshops include Bradley K. Googins, Ph.D., Director Emeritus for Corporate Citizenship, Associate Professor, Carroll School of Management, Boston College – “New Trends in Engaging Corporations in Social Issues”; John Gremer, Walgreens Director of Community Affairs, and John-Anthony Meza, KPMG, LLP National Director of Corporate Citizenship – “Aligning Volunteerism and Philanthropy to Business Goals”; and Zurich, North America Manager, Employee Programs and Community Relations Jillian Walsh, and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Program Manager Karen Thompson – “Best Practices in Employee Giving Campaigns: Including Strategic Choices Within a Campaign.”

The conference will also highlight leaders in workplace wellness and philanthropic engagement via the American Cancer Society Impact Awards, which recognize outstanding corporate collaboration with the Society employee giving, employee engagement, cancer control and tobacco control initiatives. The ceremony will also recognize one company with the Society’s Award of Excellence, for its active engagement with the American Cancer Society across multiple corporate initiatives.

The conference – sponsored by sanofi-aventis and Quest Diagnostics – is hosted by the American Cancer Society’s Employer Initiative, a program that aims to reduce the burden of cancer by helping large employers implement scientifically-sound corporate wellness programs and high-quality support for cancer screening and care.

Additional detailed information about the Corporate Impact Conference is available at

The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing nearly $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit

Jamie Kimbrough
Director, Media Relations
American Cancer Society