FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 30, 2023
Washington, D.C. – The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) presented the 8th annual Ellen L. Stovall Award for Innovation in Patient-Centered Cancer Care to Mary McCabe, RN, MA and Phuong Gallagher on October 26, 2023. Named for former NCCS CEO, Ellen Stovall, who died in 2016 from long-term complications of her cancer treatments, the award highlights those who continue Ellen’s legacy of advancing patient-centered cancer care to further incorporate patients’ goals, needs, and values. The Stovall Award is given annually to two individuals or organizations — one health care professional and one patient advocate or advocacy organization. The Health Care Professional award is co-presented by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
Phuong Gallagher is a colon cancer survivor and leading national advocate, collaborating with doctors, advocacy and support organizations, and researchers to promote awareness, self-advocacy, and research. She focuses on outreach to and education of adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients, empowering them to become knowledgeable self-advocates, while also facilitating improved communication between doctors, researchers, and the larger patient community. NCCS CEO Shelley Fuld Nasso presented the Patient Advocate award to Ms. Gallagher, along with video remarks by her Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-28).
“The Stovall Awards reception is a highlight of our year, as we honor Ellen’s legacy of advocating for everyone touched by cancer to have access to the best cancer care possible, during and after their cancer treatment. This year’s honorees exemplify her life’s work and passion: like Ellen, Phuong was diagnosed with cancer as a young adult and used her experience to help other, offering hope and support to newly diagnosed cancer survivors and advocating for patient-centered care.” said Shelley Fuld Nasso, NCCS CEO.
In her remarks, Ms. Gallagher said, “Cancer has the potential to break you; physically, emotionally, and financially, but life is not over with a cancer diagnosis, not even a stage 4 diagnosis. There is hope. In fact, my scans last week revealed ‘No Evidence of Disease’ for the first time in 7 years!”
Mary S. McCabe, RN, MA, has garnered multiple national awards for her work in cancer survivorship. She is currently a consultant in Cancer Survivorship and Medical Ethics. She is the past Clinical Director of the Cancer Survivorship Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where she developed and implemented a center-wide program for cancer survivors focused on research, clinical care, professional training, and education. She’s served in leadership positions at the National Cancer Institute and the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and is an author of over 130 scientific publications. Deborah Kamin, ASCO’s Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, presented the Health Care Professional award to Ms. McCabe, in addition to video remarks by her Congressman Donald Beyer (VA-08).
Congressman Beyer remarked, “Mary’s distinguished career is truly a beacon at the intersection of compassion and commitment. With profound dedication, she has championed the cause of patient-centered care and survivorship, embodying the very spirit of Ellen L. Stovall. She’s not only developed comprehensive survivorship programs but has also played a pivotal role in advancing the field of cancer survivorship through her research, clinical care, and professional training initiatives.”
Ms. McCabe reflected on her career: “I’ve had the privilege to see many, many advances in oncology since I began my career, but there is still much to do, especially in the area of health costs, access to care for the underserved, diversity in the oncology work force and funding for clinical research.” She added Ellen Stovall’s encouraging words, “You need to speak up if you want things to change.”
Each award winner was recognized at the reception with a video presentation about their tireless work on behalf of cancer survivors. Watch the videos and read more about the awardees below.
Patient Advocate Award
“Phuong’s dedication to infusing the research process with the patient experience has been transformative. She firmly believes that by incorporating the perspectives and needs of cancer patients, we can dramatically improve research and expedite the translation of research results into standard practice. This philosophy has been the driving force behind her advocacy efforts, and she has proven to be a catalyst for change.”
President, Fight Colorectal Cancer
Phuong Gallagher was originally diagnosed with stage IIIC colorectal cancer at the age of 29. Phuong was newly-married, and busy balancing life between being a stepmom and working as a corporate executive.
Within a year, she was stage IV. She remembers the first two years as a time of medical confusion and loneliness, following doctors’ orders without information and feeling like the only young person with this awful disease. Then she happened to come across the Colon Club and their chat forum, Colon Talk. This chance meeting changed her life and began her advocacy.
In the fourteen years since, Phuong has emerged as a leading national advocate, collaborating with doctors, advocacy and support organizations, and researchers to promote awareness, self-advocacy, and research. She focuses on outreach to and education of adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients, empowering them to become knowledgeable self-advocates, while also facilitating improved communication between doctors, researchers, and the larger patient community.
Phuong actively collaborates with doctors internationally, contributing to over a dozen publications that shed light on the unaddressed needs of the community. Additionally, she speaks to medical students, imparting valuable insights on effective communication with cancer patients and addressing common misunderstandings.
Her impactful work has led to numerous affiliations and engagements with prestigious institutions and events. She serves as a committee member of the Cancer Survivorship Advisory Council at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. Furthermore, she actively contributes as a patient representative and advocate for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), guiding research and industry on recognizing and meeting patient needs. Phuong recently completed her three-year tenure as the Colon Club Present and currently heads Fight Colorectal Cancer’s Research Advocacy Training & Support (RATS) program and was recently appointed a Member of the NCI’s Patient Advocacy Steering Committee as a Task Force Advocate.
As a panelist and speaker, Phuong participates in discussions with researchers and groups emphasizing the patient perspective. Notably, she was a panelist at the White House for the 2023 Cancer Moonshot Colorectal Cancer Forum, where she urged proper communication surrounding palliative treatment and inclusion of underserved populations in clinical trials, challenging misconceptions to ensure patients receive the care they need.
Phuong’s unwavering dedication to the colorectal cancer community has made her an influential voice in the fight against this devastating disease. Through her advocacy, she offers hope, support, and valuable insights to countless patients and healthcare professionals alike, fostering a brighter future for those affected by colorectal cancer.
Health Care Professional Award
“Mary’s work has changed the national landscape of how cancer care is understood and delivered. Building on her clinical experience as a nurse and years as a nurse educator, she lent insight and acumen to promote clinical research and educational programs at the National Cancer Institute for over 14 years. The scope of her work in effect has shaped emerging survivorship programs and a new generation of nurses, physicians and related health care professionals now delivering quality care for cancer survivors.”
Founder, Children’s Cancer Cause
Mary S. McCabe, RN, MA, is currently a consultant in Cancer Survivorship and Medical Ethics. She is the past Clinical Director of the Cancer Survivorship Center at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). From 2003 through 2016, she was responsible for developing and implementing a center-wide program and services for cancer survivors focused on research, clinical care, professional training and education. She was also a faculty member in the Division of Medical Ethics at the Cornell Weill Medical College and Chair of the MSK Ethics Committee.
A graduate of Trinity College, Emory University, and Catholic University, she was previously the nursing director at the Lombardi Cancer Center, Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and held several senior positions at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) before joining MSK. Mary is currently a member of the Survivorship Advisory Committee at the Lombardi Cancer Center, Georgetown University, a member of the boards of Children’s Cancer Cause and the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Emory University, and advisor to the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship.
She has served on many committees, including the Committee on Improving the Quality of Cancer Care and Guiding Cancer Control: A Path to Transformation at the National Academy of Medicine, the Survivorship Steering Committee of the American Cancer Society, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Survivorship Panel, the NCI Clinical Trials and Translational Research Advisory Committee, and is the past chair of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Survivorship Committee. Mary is the author of over 130 scientific publications and has received numerous national awards. These include the American Cancer Society Merit Award, Oncology Nursing Society Leadership Award, NIH Outstanding Performance Award, NIH Director’s Award, the Outstanding Alumnae Award, Emory University School of Nursing, and the Leonard Rosen Memorial Research Award given by Children’s Cause for excellence in Cancer Survivorship research. In 2020, she received the Emory University President’s Medal, the highest award given to an Emory alumnus. Currently, Mary serves as a cancer survivor advisor and navigator for immigration groups working to resettle families in the DC area.
More information about the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship and the Ellen L. Stovall Award can be found here: www.canceradvocacy.org