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Huntsman Cancer Institute is proud to announce its Cancer Community (C2) award honorees. These awards are part of the YOUR Cancer Program, which AstraZeneca uses to spotlight new cancer research and exceptional patient care.
“The C2 Awards are a way for us to recognize individuals who are changing the way we care for those impacted by cancer,” says Brad Cairns, PhD, senior director of basic science and chair of oncological sciences. “Their dedication and passion show through their work. Huntsman Cancer Institute is proud to be one of the sponsors of these amazing faculty and witness the difference they are making.”
Learn more about Huntsman Cancer Institute’s nominees below.
Douglas Fair, MD, medical director of the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) cancer program at Huntsman Cancer Institute and associate professor of pediatric hematology and oncology at the University of Utah (the U), and pediatric oncologist at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital, received the C2 President’s Award. This recognizes the work of individuals who are making progress in cancer care.
Fair worked with the U to have fertility preservation before cancer treatment covered by insurance. Not only has it benefitted many of his patients, but Fair feels it helped pass Utah House Bill 192, which covers fertility preservation for people with cancer on Medicaid.
“Dr. Fair is a wonderful clinician with exemplary patient advocacy,” says Neli Ulrich, PhD, MS, executive director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center. “When he saw young patients worried about their ability to have future families, he took those concerns and used them to create change—all the way up to the legislature.”
“We also need to focus on life after cancer,” says Fair. “My goal is not just to cure the patient. My goal is to cure the patient and allow them to live the life they wanted.
The Center for Health Outcomes and Population Equity (HOPE) at Huntsman Cancer Institute was awarded the C2 Catalyst for Health Equity Award. This recognizes the work of those improving access to cancer prevention education, screening, and treatment.
“Any new treatment, surgery, medication, or policy initiative almost always exacerbates health inequities,” says David Wetter, PhD, director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Population Equity (HOPE) at Huntsman Cancer Institute and associate director of community-engaged practice at the Utah Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). “People who have resources benefit first. People who don’t have health insurance or who live in rural areas are less likely to benefit from those developments. If we are to avoid exacerbating these inequities, we need to make special efforts to reach populations who have been historically marginalized.”
“The Center for HOPE is a wonderful example of the impact our researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute have in advancing population equity,” says Ulrich. “Through partnership with communities, change is made. The research and resources the Center for HOPE has put into the community since its creation has impacted the lives of many.”
Kathi Mooney, PhD, RN, co-leader of the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program at Huntsman Cancer Institute and distinguished professor of nursing at the U, represented the Huntsman at HomeTM team. They were one of three finalists for the C2 Catalyst for Care Award. This recognizes those who are improving cancer care.
“Huntsman at Home is the world’s first cancer hospital-at-home program, launched at Huntsman Cancer Institute,” says Ulrich. “The Huntsman at Home team allows excellent care to be done in the comfort of a patient’s home, easing the financial and physical burden of travel for patients and caregivers.”
“It is an honor for our team to bring care to cancer patients in their homes, knowing we can prevent the need for another hospitalization or trip to the emergency department,” says Mooney. “It is exciting to pioneer this new model of cancer care, and we very much appreciate the recognition by the C2 awards program.”
Charles Rogers, PhD, endowed associate professor at the Institute for Health & Equity at the Medical College of Wisconsin, was nominated by Huntsman Cancer Institute. Rogers was awarded the C2 Catalyst for Change award, which highlights the work of those who ensure cancer care reaches underserved populations.
Rogers focuses on eradicating colorectal cancer. His research has helped identify inequalities in screening for colorectal cancer in Black men and those who are younger than 45, which is the recommended screening age for most adults.
“Charles was nominated while at Huntsman Cancer Institute for his exceptional work in the Utah community and nationally,” says Ulrich. “He is a passionate scientist whose dedication and advocacy have made a difference with underserved populations, especially Black communities, by advancing colorectal cancer screening.”
“Striving to increase cancer health equity is a marathon. You can’t look at the finish line. You take it moment by moment, sometimes breath by breath, and other times, step by step,” Rogers says.
Alana Welm, PhD, senior director of basic science at Huntsman Cancer Institute and professor of oncological sciences at the U, was a finalist for the C2 Catalyst for Precision Medicine award. This recognizes those working to expand personalized treatment for people with cancer. Welm’s lab focuses on the prevention and treatment of metastatic breast cancer.
“Alana is an exceptional leader who has brought teams together across the nation. Since joining us in 2007, she has made immense progress to understand and prevent breast cancer metastasis by using innovative models of precision oncology, tailoring treatments to patients’ needs, and saving and changing the lives of those impacted by breast cancer.”
“It is wonderful to have our team recognized for their hard work and to move the needle forward in precision medicine for breast cancer patients,” Welm says.
Huntsman Cancer Institute
About Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah
Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah (the U) is the official cancer center of Utah and the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in the Mountain West. The institute is leading the world in scientific discovery, and turning it into unsurpassed cancer care, transforming hope into a reality. Huntsman Cancer Institute focuses on delivering a cancer-free frontier to Utah, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming (The Area We Serve). Huntsman Cancer Institute is home to over 300 clinical trials, with over 237 research teams studying cancer at any given time and more genes for inherited cancers have been discovered at Huntsman Cancer Institute than at any other cancer center. Huntsman Cancer Institute’s scientists are world renown for understanding how cancer begins and using that knowledge to develop innovative approaches to treat each patient’s unique tumor. Huntsman Cancer Institute was founded by Jon M. and Karen Huntsman.