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American Society of Hematology Honors Joe Biden and Tom Brokaw for Their Advocacy for Hematology Research

(WASHINGTON, December 5, 2017) — The American Society of Hematology (ASH) will recognize former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and American television journalist and author Tom Brokaw with awards for their outstanding advocacy for biomedical research and hematology at the 59th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition in Atlanta on Sunday, December 10. 

Joe Biden will receive the 2017 ASH Public Service Award, which recognizes unparalleled leadership by an elected public official on issues of importance to hematology research and/or practice. Following the 2015 passing of his son, Joseph R. “Beau” Biden, III, due to brain cancer, then-Vice President Biden led the Obama administration’s Cancer Moonshot to accelerate cancer research. Under his leadership, the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force catalyzed cooperation among 20 government agencies, departments, and White House offices, and fostered over 70 private sector collaborations designed to achieve a decade’s worth of progress in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer in only five years’ time. Mr. Biden also helped lead the effort to pass the 21st Century Cures Act, providing $1.8 billion in authorized funding over seven years for the Cancer Moonshot’s scientific priorities. Mr. Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, have pledged to continue efforts to speed up cancer research through the Biden Cancer Initiative, established since leaving public service in January 2017.

“ASH is pleased to recognize former Vice President Joe Biden with this year’s Public Service Award,” said ASH President Kenneth C. Anderson, MD, of the Lebow Institute for Myeloma Therapeutics and Jerome Lipper Myeloma Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. “This award recognizes his exemplary record of public service, his resolute leadership of the Cancer Moonshot program, and the unwavering passion he has shown in launching the Biden Foundation’s Cancer Initiative.”

Tom Brokaw will receive the 2017 ASH Outstanding Service Award, an honor recognizing effective leadership behind the scenes in areas relevant to the mission of the Society, for his dedication to increasing public awareness about blood cancers. As a cancer patient himself who is currently in remission from the blood cancer multiple myeloma, his strength and leadership throughout his experience has provided hope to many people diagnosed with cancer, especially those with multiple myeloma. In his memoir, “A Lucky Life Interrupted,” he shared his experiences with his own treatment, which in turn provided encouragement for other patients and their families coping with the disease. Mr. Brokaw has also taken the time to listen to countless patients, and helped them acquire access to specialized care.

“I am deeply honored to present the Outstanding Service Award to my longtime friend Tom Brokaw,” said Dr. Anderson. “Tom is a hero and inspiration to patients, caregivers, and researchers alike. His willingness to selflessly and publicly share his journey has helped bring much needed attention to the importance of biomedical research in enabling us to better understand – and one day cure – cancers and other blood diseases.”

The American Society of Hematology (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. ASH publishes Blood (www.bloodjournal.org), the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available weekly in print and online. In 2016, ASH launched Blood Advances (www.bloodadvances.org), an online, peer-reviewed open-access journal.

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