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American Lung Association Announces 2022 C. Everett Koop Unsung Hero Award
A founding member of the IASLC’s Tobacco Control and Smoking Cessation Committee has been recognized by the American Lung Association for her decades-long fight against the tobacco epidemic. Carolyn Dresler, MD, MPA, received the association’s 2022 C. Everett Koop Unsung Hero Award, which is named for the 1980s US Surgeon General who greatly advanced the fight against the tobacco epidemic.
Dr. Dresler, who previously served on the IASLC board of directors, is a former thoracic surgeon who dedicated much of her life to combatting the leading reason patients come under her care—smoking. Since retiring from practice, she’s continued to advocate for anti-tobacco policies at the local, state, national and global levels as a volunteer for Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).
While the Koop award recognizes her lifetime of achievements, the American Lung Association pointed specifically to Dr. Dresler’s key role in developing a human rights-based approach to the tobacco epidemic, a strategy that is prevalent in public health today.
In 2009, Dr. Dresler became the founder and board chair of the Human Rights and Tobacco Control Network, a global non-governmental organization dedicated to using human rights to end the tobacco epidemic.
Penn Medicine Receives Grant for New Cancer Telehealth Research Center of Excellence
The National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the US National Institutes of Health, recently awarded Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania a 5-year, $5.7 million grant for a new research center to develop and test advanced methods of telehealth delivery for cancer care with a focus on promoting health equity.
The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) Telehealth Research Center in Cancer Care (Penn TRACE), based at the Penn Center for Cancer Care Innovation (PC3I) at the Abramson Cancer Center (ACC), will become one of four NCI Telehealth Research Centers of Excellence. The grant will fund the design and testing of new telehealth strategies across the lung cancer care continuum, from screening to molecular testing to survivorship, with an emphasis on lung cancer morbidity and mortality, health disparities, and the digital divides. It will also incentivize more research on telehealth’s impact on patient outcomes, patient-provider communication, and healthcare use.
Three principal investigators from Penn Medicine will lead the center: Katharine Rendle, an assistant professor of family medicine and community health and deputy director of PC3I; Anil Vachani, an associate professor of pulmonary, allergy, and critical care, co-director of lung cancer screening at Penn Medicine, and a faculty member at PC3I; and Justin Bekelman, a professor of radiation oncology, medicine, and medical ethics & health policy, and the director of PC3I.
“For patients undergoing screening or treatment for cancer, advances in telehealth propelled by the COVID-19 pandemic could be tremendously beneficial, yet telehealth strategies must address the digital divide so as not to also exacerbate known disparities in cancer outcomes,” said Dr. Rendle. “We aim not only to ensure equal access to telehealth but also to use it in ways that reduce persistent barriers to care in order to transform how we deliver cancer care today.”