Rye Brook, N.Y. (March 16, 2017) – The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to fighting blood cancer, announced it has appointed Gwen Nichols, M.D., chief medical officer (CMO). A physician and scientific researcher, Nichols has dedicated her career to advancing cures for cancers through a unique combination of clinical, academic and pharmaceutical experience. She will play a critical role in advancing LLS’s goal to find cancer cures and ensure access to treatments for all blood cancer patients.
Nichols will oversee LLS’s scientific research portfolio, patient access services and policy and advocacy initiatives:
- Scientific Research: LLS has invested more than $1 billion in research to advance breakthrough therapies, including a $49.3 million commitment to new multi-year research grants this past year alone. Nichols will be responsible for managing LLS’s diverse research grants program, which currently funds nearly 300 projects at renowned medical institutions around the world, and LLS’s Therapy Acceleration Program ®, which expedites treatments by supporting promising projects and clinical trials through collaborations with biotechnology companies.
- Patient Access Services: As the leading source of free blood cancer information, education and support, LLS has helped more than one million callers through its Information Resource Center, a toll-free call center staffed with master’s level healthcare professionals, and has provided co-pay assistance to more than 73,000 patients. Nichols will also supervise the development and delivery of LLS’s vast array of support services for blood cancer patients, including its Information Resource Center, co-pay assistance program, educational resources, online patient community, support groups, and peer-to-peer programs.
- Policy and Advocacy: Through its nationwide grassroots network of more than 100,000 volunteer advocates, LLS advocates for policies to remove barriers to care. LLS helped secure oral parity legislation in 42 states and Washington D.C., ensuring that patients who obtain their cancer medications from a pharmacy and self-administer their treatments receive equal coverage to those who are treated in the clinic. At the federal level, LLS played a critical role in helping to pass the 21st Century Cures Act. As part of LLS’s leadership and role as the voice for all blood cancer patients, Nichols will direct strategic public policy and advocacy agendas at the state and federal level, providing input from patients to help improve access to care and accelerate cures.
“With extensive experience providing care directly to patients and working in the research laboratory to study cancer treatments, Gwen will elevate our ability to lead the charge in advancing cures for blood cancers and improving the lives of patients and their families," said Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., LLS president and CEO.
Most recently, Nichols was oncology site head of the Roche Translational Clinical Research Center, where she worked to develop new cancer therapies, translating them from the laboratory to clinical trials. Prior to joining Roche in 2007, Nichols was at Columbia University for more than ten years, where she served as the director of the Hematologic Malignancies Program.
While at Columbia University, Nichols maintained an active clinical practice and received the prestigious honors of “Physician of the Year” from Columbia University and the “Humanism in Medicine Award” from the American Association of Medical Colleges.
Nichols trained in internal medicine at the University of Chicago and completed post-doctoral research and a hematology-oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center where she was an attending physician. She received her medical degree with honors from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Nichols has served on numerous academic committees and board appointments throughout her career, including LLS’s Medical Advisory Board in 2004. She has published more than 40 publications, mostly focused on oncology, during her research career.
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care.
Founded in 1949 and headquartered in Rye Brook, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit LLS.org. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.
Contact: Andrea Greif, Senior Director, Communications, (914) 821-8958, firstname.lastname@example.org