American Association for Cancer Research

Press Releases: 2010

AACR Welcomes Mary Lee Watts, Director of Government Relations


June 7, 2010

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PHILADELPHIA — The American Association for Cancer Research welcomes Mary Lee Watts, director of government relations. Based in Washington, D.C., Watts will provide direction and support for the AACR's national legislative policy activities and priorities, and serve as a liaison for the AACR on Capitol Hill, among federal agencies and within the administration.

"We are very fortunate that Mary Lee Watts will be joining our D.C. policy team," said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D. (h.c.), chief executive officer of the AACR. "Her experience developing association public policy positions and federal funding recommendations, and successfully advocating for their adoption before Congress and the executive branch will be of tremendous value."

"I have had the opportunity to work with Mary Lee over the past five years and she is one of the best in D.C.'s biomedical research advocacy community," added Jon Retzlaff, managing director of science policy and government affairs at the AACR. "She has a proven record of combining a working knowledge of the legislative process with an in-depth understanding of science, public health and nutrition."

Watts has worked for the American Society for Nutrition since September 2006, serving as its director for science and public affairs. In that role, she initiated and developed a public policy platform and strategic plan, and advocated the position with federal House and Senate members and staff. Prior to that, she spent more than four years at the American Dietetic Association, where she served as the association's manager for legislative and political affairs.

"I am thrilled to be joining this prestigious organization, especially at such a critical time for science, biomedical research and health care policy," said Watts. "I look forward to advancing the AACR's mission to prevent and cure cancer through public policy and advocacy efforts as part of the Science Policy and Government Affairs team."

Watts has also served as an at-large delegate to the White House Conference on Aging in 2005; as an advisory board member for the American Council for Fitness and Nutrition; and as a member of the American Dietetic Association's Legislative and Public Policy Committee. She holds a Master of Public Health in nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and bachelor's degree in molecular biology from Vanderbilt University.

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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 31,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowship and career development awards. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 17,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. The AACR publishes six major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; and Cancer Prevention Research. The AACR also publishes CR, a magazine for cancer survivors and their families, patient advocates, physicians and scientists. CR provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship and advocacy.

Media Contact:
Michele Leiberman
(267) 646-0622
michele.leiberman@aacr.org