Chief Cancer Control Officer, American Cancer Society
Dr. Richard Wender is charged with providing oversight and guidance for the national and global cancer control programs of the American Cancer Society, including cancer screening, tobacco control, access to care, and quality of life, in addition to providing high level oversight for the Society’s global cancer control efforts.
For 34 years, Dr. Wender worked as a family physician in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pa., serving as the Director of the Family Medicine Residency Program from 1985 – 1995. and Vice Chair from 1995 – 2002. From 2002 until his acceptance of his position at the Society, Dr. Wender was the Alumni Professor and Chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine, a large, comprehensive department addressing the tripartite mission of educating future health care professionals, conducting public health and health services research, and improving care for all individuals living in the Philadelphia region through delivery of primary care services and partnership with many community based organizations. During Dr. Wender’s tenure, the Department also began developing a global health program. The ultimate mission of the Department remains to improve health outcomes for all, with a particular focus on reducing health disparities. Dr. Wender has held numerous other administration positions at Jefferson, including serving as President and CEO of JeffCare, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s physician-hospital organization and President and CEO of Jefferson Medical Care, a group of Hospital owned primary care and specialty practices.
Dr. Wender has led numerous initiatives designed to improve preventive care and chronic disease management, including being a pioneer in the Patient Centered Medical Home initiative. Much of this work has focused on cancer prevention and control. He has served as an author of numerous scholarly works including co-authoring several cancer screening guidelines. He is the first author on the recent American Cancer Society lung cancer screening guideline. Dr. Wender currently serves as chair of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, an organization consisting of nearly 80 organizations dedicated to eliminating colon cancer as a major public health problem.
Dr. Wender has received numerous awards and honors, including the Laurel for Cancer Prevention Leadership from the Prevent Cancer Foundation and the St. George Medal from the American Cancer Society. In 2006, Dr. Wender was elected as the national President of the American Cancer Society, becoming the first primary care physician to serve in this capacity. While his new position will allow him to have a greater impact on the cancer burden around the world, his roots remain grounded in primary care, and he continues to provide primary care to patients at Jefferson. Through advocacy and through constructing lasting partnerships, Dr. Wender remains committed to building bridges between public health, community medicine, and primary care.