Advancing cancer care requires more than just science. It’s a collective effort driven by passionate individuals and organizations dedicated to making a difference for those living with and affected by cancer. For patients and their families, that community of healthcare professionals, researchers, caregivers, advocates, educators and others who offer relief in extraordinarily difficult times are cause for celebration. The Cancer Community (C2) Awards honor that diverse and indispensable group, the unsung heroes of cancer care.
We’re excited to spotlight the four winners of the first Cancer Community (C2) Awards for the inspiring work they have done to help and support cancer patients and their loved ones. Hear their stories:
C2 Catalyst For Change Award
Keith Winfrey, MD, MPH
Chief Medical Officer, New Orleans East Louisiana Community Health Center
C2 Catalyst For Care Award
The Centers of Excellence program of the GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer
Leah Fine, Senior Director
C2 Catalyst For Precision Medicine Award
Barbara Gitlitz, MD and Geoffrey Oxnard, MD
Co-Principal Investigators, The Genomics of Young Lung Cancer Study
Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance's Survivors Teaching Students®
Susan Leighton, National Program, Director
Audra Moran, President & CEO
Congratulations to the finalists who have been recognized by their peers for the inspiring work they do each day – all collectively working to make a difference for those living with and affected by cancer.
Finalists and winners in the Catalyst for Change, Catalyst for Care and Catalyst for Precision Medicine categories were selected by an esteemed panel of judges from across the cancer community.
Nominees were submitted in four categories:
Scientific advancements in cancer care and treatment can save lives, but often ensuring these advancements reach the community-level or more rural areas, for example, can be a challenge. Nominees for the C2 Catalyst for Change Award are working to change that.
Nominees for this award drive change at the community-, neighborhood- or hospital-level that results in better cancer care for more people. Maybe a Nominee found a way to get more people screened for cancer at an earlier stage or figured out a creative approach to access new treatments or facilities. Or perhaps the Nominee created a science-based communication, initiative or event that improved access to cancer care and treatment. The C2 Catalyst for Change Award celebrates those who significantly improve access to cancer care for underserved populations.
- A Nominee needs to significantly improve the ability of underserved populations to receive high-quality cancer care. Examples include:
- Improving access to treatment and quality cancer care for patients who previously went without it.
- Creating more space at a facility that lacked it, facilitating the treatment of more patients.
- Developing an educational cancer-prevention program in a region with a lack of knowledge.
- Improving a community’s ability to serve cancer patients through advocacy, government relations or media attention.
- A Nominee should be able to demonstrate measurable impact, whether as people reached, populations served, procedures increased, screens undertaken, etcetera.
- Ideally, a Nominee’s process/methodology/approach could be applied in other communities to further expand access to patients in underserved areas.
How a patient feels during a treatment and what happens to a patient outside the clinic matters just as much as the treatment itself. Nominees for the C2 Catalyst for Care Award work to improve the patient experience.
A Nominee could have developed a system where providers go to patients or make hospitals look like homes. A Nominee might have created a transportation service to provide free rides to medical appointments. Or a Nominee might help patients or their families manage challenges beyond medical care, such as finances or quality-of-life issues. This award is all about making a patient’s experience as easy as possible during an extraordinarily difficult time.
- A Nominee needs to significantly enhance the experience of cancer care for patients at some stage in their cancer treatment, from diagnosis and beyond. Examples include:
- Developing improved hospital facilities or quality-of-life programs, such as new wards or experiences, new food menus or transportation services.
- Advocating for improved quality-of-life services and methods.
- Creating easy-to-use digital adherence tools.
- Improving the experience of patient families, helping them navigate a very difficult time.
- A winner should be able to demonstrate measurable impact, whether as patients reached, programs started, meals prepared, rides given, etcetera.
- Ideally, the tools or techniques required to implement the winner’s advance should be something that could apply to cancer-care across the country.
Many of the most promising advances in cancer care come from the area of precision oncology, which uses specific characteristics of a patient’s cancer to improve tests or target treatments. The Nominee of the C2 Catalyst for Precision Medicine Award is expanding the boundaries for how to personalize care for each patient, bringing new, more individualized tests and treatments to patients and improving health outcomes in the process.
A Nominee might have pioneered new research to help oncologists understand the genetics of a patient’s cancer differently and thereby provide better treatment options. Or a Nominee may have created new protocols to identify which specific patients may benefit from a specific treatment protocol. This award celebrates those who enhance the ability to provide the right treatment for the right patient at the right time.
- A Nominee needs to significantly improve personalized treatments for cancer patients, giving them new options. Examples include:
- Developing new kind of precision-oncology method that leads to measurable improvements in health outcomes.
- Developing tools to help identify patients who may benefit from a new precision-oncology approach.
- Leading research that identifies new, more personalized options for cancer treatment.
- Spearheading a new policy to enhance testing or screening for a specific cancer mutation
- A winner should be able to demonstrate measurable impact, such as patients treated, programs started, etcetera.
- Ideally, the tools or techniques required to implement the winner’s advance should be something that could apply across the country.
Cancer does not have any fixed rules, nor does the President’s Award, save one: The winner must make a tangible and inspiring difference in the lives of patients or their loved ones. A Nominee may have started a 5K race to raise enough money
to pay a certain patient’s treatment. A Nominee may have built a cancer survivor support group or online forum. A Nominee might even have changed a loved one’s life by becoming an advocate or caregiver or a volunteer hospice worker. Selected by an AstraZeneca executive.
- The winner’s contributions benefited the cancer community in an inspirational way that lies outside of the criteria for the other C2 Awards.
- This winner should show an unexpected way to contribute to the cancer community and improve it.
Awards Ceremony and Winner's Announcement
The program is a partnership between AstraZeneca and Scientific American Custom Media and nominees will be selected by a broad group of experts drawn from our community.