Today, during a signing ceremony for the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our PACT Act of 2022, President Biden formally announced the appointment of Dr. Monica Bertagnolli as the 16th director of the National Cancer Institute. Following the announcement, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy provided the following statements in support of the appointment.

Dr. Alondra Nelson, Deputy Assistant to the President and head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy:

“Congratulations to Dr. Monica Bertagnolli for her historic appointment as the 16th director – and first woman director – of the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Bertagnolli is a leader with impeccable credentials who has made outstanding contributions to the field of clinical oncology. Dr. Bertagnolli arrives at NCI at a critical time in our Nation’s efforts to reduce cancer deaths as well as fundamental inequities in the oncology system. Cancer is known today as a disease for which prevention and access to screening and treatment is inequitable across races, regions, and resource-levels. We can ensure that every community in America – rural, urban, Tribal, and everywhere else – has access to cutting-edge cancer diagnostics, therapeutics, and clinical trials. OSTP looks forward to working with Dr. Bertagnolli and the NCI on the President’s Cancer Moonshot driving increased access in our ability to prevent, detect, and treat cancer, while making sure there is a seat at the table for people living with cancer as well as the people who care for them to help us improve our oncology research and care system.”

Dr. Francis Collins, Acting Science Advisor to the President, Acting Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and former Director of the National Institutes of Health: 

“Dr. Bertagnolli is a surgeon and one of the finest physician-scientists in the country. Her work spans the field of cancer research from basic science to clinical trials. Her laboratory investigations of tumor immunology and the role of the APC gene in colorectal cancer has led to new insights on prevention.  She is a widely recognized expert in clinical trials, advocating for increased collaboration between trial networks and broader diversity in trial participants. Throughout her career, she has shown tremendous dedication to promoting the next generation of cancer doctors, encouraging a multidisciplinary approach to patient care that considers the latest surgery, chemotherapy, immunology, and radiation options available. She also is a persuasive and committed advocate for cancer patients and their families. From her time teaching in the classroom, to serving on the board of directors of the American Cancer Society, as president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and as chair of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, Dr. Bertagnolli has always kept patients front of mind, which is essential to the mission of NCI. Dr. Bertagnolli replaces Dr. Norman “Ned” Sharpless, who served as the NCI director since 2017, and to whom I wish to extend my sincere thanks for his service. Dr. Sharpless’s leadership, especially during the height of the pandemic, maintained the Institute’s critical support of the extramural cancer research enterprise, and sustained our Nation’s progress in the fight against the disease.”

Dr. Danielle Carnival, White House Cancer Moonshot Coordinator:

“When President Biden reignited the Cancer Moonshot in February, he announced a whole-of-government response to address cancer. NCI is very much at the forefront of this effort, working closely with the White House and the President’s Cancer Cabinet to drive innovation that will decrease the cancer death rate and improve the experience of cancer patients and caregivers. Dr. Bertagnolli will be a transformational leader at NCI given her life-long commitment to excellence in patient care, innovation in surgical oncology, and contributions to community-based cancer research. Dr. Bertagnolli recognizes that for far too long cancer has been a disease in which we don’t learn from the experiences of most patients and believes we can turn our cancer care system into a learning system. She is a terrific advocate for equitable cancer care access and has played a direct and lasting role in removing barriers for patients to participate in clinical trials regardless of location and coverage. As Dr. Bertagnolli takes leadership of NCI, I want to acknowledge and thank Dr. Douglas Lowy who has stepped up as Acting Director of the National Cancer Institute in 2016 as part the Cancer Moonshot and over the last few months. I look forward to working with Dr. Bertagnolli marshaling all the resources, imagination, and talent of the research community to end cancer as we know it.”


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