President Biden said Wednesday that he intends to appoint Dr. Monica Bertagnoli, a prominent surgeon and professor at Harvard Medical School, as the 16th director of the National Cancer Institute.
Dr. Bertagnolli will be the first woman to lead the institute and will be responsible for accelerating Mr. Biden’s signature cancer “moonshot” — an effort to reduce cancer rates in the United States by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years.
The National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, coordinates efforts to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.
Currently, Dr. Bertagnolli is a professor of surgery at Harvard and a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
She is also a member of the Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers and Sarcoma Diseases at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a leading cancer hospital.
The government applauds doctors’ efforts to involve patients in cancer care, especially in rural and remote communities.
“I look forward to working with Dr. Bertagnolli to advance the President’s call to end cancer as we know it,” said Heath and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Dr. Bertagnolli’s decades of cancer research expertise in patient-centered care and her work creating more inclusive clinical trials will help us accelerate research and innovation in the fight against cancer.”
Mr. Biden announced his decision on Wednesday before signing a pledge to address the Comprehensive Poisons (PACT) Act of 2022, which expands health care and benefits for veterans exposed to toxins and battling diseases such as cancer.
Cancer research is a personal matter for Biden, whose son Beau died of aggressive brain cancer in 2015.