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ASH Honors Member of Congress and Grants Chief at National Cancer Institute

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) will recognize Representative David McKinley (R-WV) and Roy Wu, PhD, former chief of the Clinical Grants and Contracts Branch for the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), with awards for their outstanding advocacy for biomedical research and hematology practice at the 58th ASH Annual Meeting in San Diego. 

Rep. McKinley will receive the 2016 ASH Public Service Award, an award recognizing unparalleled leadership by an elected public official on issues of importance to hematology research and/or practice. Since being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2011, Rep. McKinley has been a strong proponent of increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and ensuring that patients have access to the treatments and cures derived from this research. For the past several years, Rep. McKinley has led an annual effort to enlist his colleagues in the House to urge the House Appropriations Committee to allocate additional funding for NIH, the nation’s largest funder of biomedical research. His most recent effort, a March 2016 letter to the House Appropriations Committee, gained the signatures of 196 bipartisan members of the House. He also sponsored bipartisan legislation aimed at helping patients with chronic, disabling, and life-threatening conditions. The Patients’ Access to Treatments Act (H.R. 1600), which ASH has endorsed, seeks to prevent private health insurance plans from imposing higher costs for medications in the specialty drug tier. This legislation represents an important first step towards removing the burden of excessive cost-sharing for Americans who need specialty-tier medications.

Dr. Wu will receive the 2016 ASH Outstanding Service Award, an honor recognizing effective “behind-the-scenes” leadership in areas relevant to the mission of the Society, for his efforts to promote clinical research at NCI. As chief of the Clinical Grants and Contracts Branch for the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP) at NCI, Dr. Wu led a team that administered more than 4,000 grants, contracts, and cooperative agreements. He began his career at NCI in the intramural program in 1979. Several years later, he joined CTEP/NCI as the sole program director for the clinical grants program. Dr. Wu grew CTEP’s grants portfolio twelve-fold, and his efforts led to the formation of the Clinical Grants and Contracts Branch of NCI in 2000. Until his retirement earlier this year, Dr. Wu represented NCI in many capacities, including serving as an informal liaison to the ASH Committee on Government Affairs, where he regularly provided the Committee (and the larger ASH membership) with updates on NCI’s programs of interest to hematology.

“The future for patients with blood diseases depends on strong advocates who fight for tomorrow’s treatments and cures by pushing for research funding and affordable medications,” said 2016 ASH President Charles S. Abrams, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania. “I applaud Rep. McKinley and Dr. Wu for their dedication to medical innovation, which is driven by their commitment to ensuring the well-being of others. ASH values their support as we work together to support research and improve treatment access.”

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) (www.hematology.org) is the world’s largest professional society of hematologists dedicated to furthering the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting the blood. For more than 50 years, the Society has led the development of hematology as a discipline by promoting research, patient care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology. The official journal of ASH is Blood (www.bloodjournal.org), the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available weekly in print and online.

Sara Khalaf, American Society of Hematology
[email protected]; 202-552-4925