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AACR CEO Dr. Margaret Foti Honored With 2019 Women of Inspiration and Influence Recognition

PHILADELPHIA – The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) congratulates Chief Executive Officer Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), on her recognition as one of the 2019 Women of Inspiration and Influence, a prestigious honor awarded by the Women Business Leaders (WBL) of the U.S. Health Care Industry Foundation.

Foti is one of 11 senior executive women honored this year for their inspirational contributions to the health care industry. She was recognized at the Foundation’s annual summit on March 13-15 in Dallas.

“Marge has been an influential and visionary leader within the cancer research community in the United States as well as internationally,” said Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, President of the AACR, who nominated Foti for the award. “Her leadership in the field has enabled generations of female scientists to achieve advances that impact the lives of cancer patients around the world.”

During Foti’s tenure as CEO of the AACR, membership has grown from about 3,000 to over 42,000 laboratory, translational, and clinical researchers; population scientists; other health care professionals; and cancer advocates residing in 120 countries. Through her leadership, the proportion of AACR members who are women has increased significantly, rising from just 13 percent in the 1980s to 40 percent today. In addition, women currently hold 47 percent of the leadership positions in the AACR, including positions on the Board of Directors and on important standing committees, task forces, and other entities.

Foti also worked to integrate an external organization called Women in Cancer Research (WICR) into the AACR, forming a 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.

“I am deeply honored to receive this very special recognition. I have greatly enjoyed being in a position in my career to help achieve the goal of gender equity in the cancer field,” said Foti. “Although women have had a major impact on progress against cancer and have come a long way in achieving leadership roles in the cancer workforce, their professional advancement and career opportunities have moved forward at an inadequate and inconsistent pace. I remain steadfast in my commitment to encourage, support, and advocate for women scientists and physicians in the cancer field, as their contributions are essential if we are to significantly reduce cancer incidence, morbidity, and mortality around the world.”

Among her many professional activities, Foti has served as a board member and president of the National Coalition for Cancer Research, a president of the Council of Biology Editors, a president of the Society for Scholarly Publishing, a member of the executive committee and board of Friends of Cancer Research, a board member of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, a medical advisory board member of the Prevent Cancer Foundation, and a council member of the European Association for Cancer Research.

Foti’s contributions have been widely recognized with 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 CEU San Pablo University in Madrid. She was recognized with the 2018 Women for Oncology Award from the European Society for Medical Oncology, 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 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.

In honor of Foti’s exemplary leadership, outstanding work in fostering research, and extraordinary dedication to the conquest of cancer, the AACR created the AACR-Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research. Established in 2007, the award recognizes a true champion of cancer research, an individual who embodies the sustained commitment of Margaret Foti to the prevention and cure of cancer.