PHILADELPHIA — Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), was recognized Friday, October 19, with the 2018 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Women for Oncology Award in recognition of her significant and valuable contributions to supporting the career development of women in oncology.
Foti received the award during the Opening Session of the ESMO 2018 Congress in Munich, Germany. After the recognition, she presented a lecture titled, “The Professional Advancement of Women in Oncology: A Matter of Great Urgency for Patients.”
“Foti has clearly invested in female oncologists and researchers by fostering their careers and ensuring that they do have similar opportunities to their male counterparts. She also has been an inspiration to many young oncologists,” said Evandro de Azambuja, MD, PhD, chair of the ESMO Fellowship and Award Committee, on behalf of the committee.
The ESMO Women for Oncology Award recognizes an ESMO member who has significantly contributed to supporting the career development of women in oncology. The award acknowledges someone who has actively worked to sensitize organizations to perceive the female oncology workforce as a valuable resource. Past recipients are Frances A. Shepherd, MD, Sumitra Thongprasert, MD, and Enriqueta Felip, MD, PhD.
“It is very rewarding for me to be recognized with this wonderful award as I have strived throughout my career to serve as a mentor to women in the cancer field,” said Foti. “The professional success of women scientists and physicians is essential for rapid progress in cancer research, biomedical science, patient care, and public health. The AACR and I are very committed to continuing to enhance the status of women in oncology, to increase their professional opportunities, and to offer mentorship and support. If we are to significantly reduce cancer incidence, morbidity, and mortality around the world, we must facilitate the vital contributions and leadership opportunities of women in oncology.”
During Foti’s tenure as CEO of the AACR, membership has grown from about 3,000 to more than 40,000 laboratory, translational, and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and cancer advocates residing in 120 countries. Through her visionary leadership, the proportion of AACR members who are women has increased significantly, rising from just 17 percent in 1990 to 40 percent today. In addition, in 2018, women hold 45 percent of the leadership positions in the AACR, including positions on the Board of Directors and on important standing committees and task forces.
Foti also co-founded Women in Cancer Research (WICR), an AACR membership group committed to recognizing women’s scientific achievements and fostering their career development and advancement in cancer research. She currently sits on the WICR Council, an advisory body to the AACR leadership on issues of concern to women investigators.
Foti’s contributions have been widely recognized by numerous awards from organizations around the world. Her lengthy list of formal recognitions includes honorary degrees in medicine and surgery from the University of Rome La Sapienza and the University of Catania in Sicily, and an honorary degree in medicine from the University CEU of San Pablo in Madrid. She was recognized with the 2016 PHL Life Sciences Ultimate Solution Award, the Ovarcome Excellence 2016 Award, the 2016 James Ewing Layperson’s Award from the Society of Surgical Oncology, the 2016 Honorary Member Award from the Oncology Nursing Society, and as a 2015 honoree of “the one hundred” by Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. Additionally, she has received the 2015 Children’s Champion Award from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the 2014 Ellen V. Sigal Advocacy Leadership Award from Friends of Cancer Research, the 2014 Morton M. Kligerman Visiting Professorship Award from the University of Pennsylvania, the 2013 Stanley P. Reimann Honor Award from Fox Chase Cancer Center, and the 2013 Distinguished Partner in Hope Award during the Annual Colorectal Cancer Conference hosted by the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania.