News Release

November 17, 2005

Contact: Maureen McGuire, 860-679-4523

The New President of the American Cancer Society

Dr. Carolyn D. Runowicz, Director of the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UConn Health Center

Farmington, Conn. – Carolyn D. Runowicz, M.D., director of the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Connecticut Health Center and a nationally prominent expert in gynecologic oncology, will become President of the American Cancer Society today during the Society’s annual Board of Directors and National Assembly meeting in Los Angeles.

"It is both rewarding and humbling to assume the presidency of an organization that is making a real and tangible difference in the lives of millions of Americans touched by cancer,” said Dr. Runowicz.

The role of the president is to act as the lead medical and scientific spokesperson and advocate for the Society. It is a one year term. Dr. Runowicz previously served as President-Elect and Second Vice President of the Society; she has been involved with the national board for more than 20 years.

Dr. Runowicz, who is the first breast cancer survivor to become president of the Society, has devoted her career to advances in the treatment, early detection and prevention of cancer. She has held leadership roles with other national medical organizations and was the first woman president of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists.

In 2004, she was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the National Cancer Advisory Board and was recognized by the American Medical Women’s Association as a “local legend.” Dr. Runowicz currently serves on the National Cancer Institute’s Scientific Review Group and is involved with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. She has been chair of the Gynecologic Committee of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, a leading national organization in large-scale cancer research since 1994.

Cancer prevention is of particular interest to Dr. Runowicz. She recently authored a book about advances in cancer prevention titled, The Answer to Cancer, with her husband Sheldon Cherry, M.D., a prominent ob/gyn from New York City. The book provides valuable information to help men and women understand their personal risk profiles, and gives science-based examples of concrete steps people can take to reduce their risk.

Along with The Answer to Cancer, Dr. Runowicz has also written To Be Alive: A Woman’s Guide to a Full Life After Cancer; The Menopause Book: A Guide to Women’s Health After 40, which was also co-authored with Dr. Cherry; and Women and Cancer: A Thorough and Compassionate Resource for Patients and Their Families.

In addition, Dr. Runowicz has been involved with research studies on ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, epithelial cancer and more. She has written more than 100 contributions to medical literature, including scientific abstracts and textbook chapters. She is widely published in scholarly journals including the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, and Cancer.

A Willimantic native, Dr. Runowicz is a graduate of the University of Connecticut and a 2002 recipient of its Distinguished Alumni Award. She earned her medical degree from Thomas Jefferson Medical College and trained in obstetrics and gynecology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Medical Center. Dr. Runowicz was a Galloway Fellow at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and also underwent fellowship training in gynecologic oncology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Medical Center.

Before joining the UConn Health Center in 2003, she was a professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and vice-chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City.

In addition, she has held academic positions at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where she served as professor and director of the division of gynecologic oncology. She has also served as director of gynecologic oncology research for the women’s health service line of Continuum Health Partners in New York City.

“Dr. Runowicz is a highly accomplished, widely respected physician and educator. She is a national leader in promoting all facets of biomedical research to facilitate a better understanding of tumor biology and evidenced-based, multidisciplinary cancer care. She is a thoughtful and persuasive advocate for the early detection and prevention of cancer as well as the discovery of new therapies through clinical research,” said Peter J. Deckers, M.D., executive vice president for health affairs at the UConn Health Center.

“Her election to the Presidency of the American Cancer Society is an appropriate testimony to a lifetime of significant achievement through dedication to cancer control and is a great honor not only for her but also for the UConn Health Center and the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center,” he added.

The Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center provides a full spectrum of cancer services, from education and prevention strategies to early detection services, innovative, state-of-the-art treatments, reconstructive surgery, rehabilitation and support services. In addition, patients at the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center can participate in a range of clinical trials and research studies. Services are provided in a convenient location at the UConn Health Center campus in Farmington. For more information, visit

The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service. Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, the Society has 14 regional divisions and local officers in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across the U.S. For more information anytime, call 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit

UConn Health includes the schools of medicine and dental medicine, the UConn Medical Group, University Dentists, and John Dempsey Hospital. Home to Bioscience Connecticut, UConn Health pursues a mission of providing outstanding health care education in an environment of exemplary patient care, research and public service. More information about UConn Health is available at

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