Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, issued the following statement applauding the U.S. Senate’s bipartisan confirmation of Monica Bertagnolli, MD, as the new Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“As a scientist, physician and breast cancer patient, Dr. Bertagnolli brings a distinctive understanding of the patient voice and a deep appreciation for the personal impact NIH research can make on an individual’s cancer journey,” said Victoria Smart, Senior Vice President of Mission at Susan G. Komen. “Like so many others, Dr. Bertagnolli’s own breast cancer treatment was supported by advancements driven by the NIH. She brings a fresh perspective to the helm of the NIH and Komen believes she is eminently qualified to drive our nation’s preeminent biomedical research institution into the future.”
Susan G. Komen is dedicated to supporting a robust research infrastructure, advocating for funding and support for federal biomedical research. For over a century, the NIH has been the driving force behind our nation’s biomedical research, improving the health of people in every corner of America — including those impacted by breast cancer. NIH serves a key role in advancing scientific understanding of breast cancer and translating research to clinical care. Komen is enthusiastic to see NIH led by a passionate and empathetic leader with an eye toward public trust and health equity.
Dr. Bertagnolli, who currently leads the National Cancer Institute (NCI), has made a strong commitment to leveraging scientific advancements to improve equitable access to high-quality health care particularly for underserved and rural communities. As a Wyoming native, she brings a deep understanding of the nation’s disparities in health care — especially the barriers to access that rural communities face. Dr. Bertagnolli has stated that, while her own breast cancer journey was supported by the best treatments available, she is dedicated to ensuring that every patient has that same access to quality care. For many decades as a surgeon and a scientist, Dr. Bertagnolli has demonstrated a drive toward advancing scientific discoveries in cancer. Komen believes Dr. Bertagnolli will make a significant impact on the lives of breast cancer patients as leader of the NIH, in the same way she made an impact throughout her career.
“Komen urges President Biden and the Senate to now work together, with urgency, to fill the vacant, critical leadership role at the National Cancer Institute,” Smart said. “With incidence of breast cancer rising and nearly 300,000 Americans expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, we need strong NCI leadership now to join with Dr. Bertagnolli in accelerating scientific progress to save lives.”