Dear Susan G. Komen Partner,
I’m now a month into my tenure as President and CEO of Susan G. Komen and what a month it’s been! It has been a pleasure to meet so many members of the Komen community – our researchers and clinicians, advocates, volunteers, Affiliates, grantees, business partners and donors. I hope to meet each of you as I travel around our network during the next several months. Until that time, I thought I would take a few minutes to introduce myself and to thank you for being so welcoming as we begin a new era at this great organization.
Susan G. Komen has accomplished so much for so many people in just three decades. Our research program is second to none (and represents the largest investment in breast cancer research outside of the U.S. government). Our community health programs provide screenings, living expenses, insurance co-pays, surgeries and more to those breast cancer patients who need our help the most. Our advocacy programs have fought for access to screenings and cancer care for the medically underserved and helped ensure that breast cancer research remains a national priority. Our global programs are active in more than 30 countries.
I have spent my entire career in medicine and public health, research and health policy at great institutions – the National Institutes of Health, the Veterans Health Administration and most recently the Institute of Medicine. I was honored to play a significant role in research and health policy programs, and to build and implement meaningful healthcare programs to benefit hundreds of thousands of people every year. As a volunteer physician at local clinics in Washington, D.C., I’ve also seen how lack of access to healthcare has affected the most vulnerable people in our communities.
These experiences have led me to this extraordinary organization at an extraordinary time. I’ve followed Komen for many years both as a participant at the Races and as a doctor and public health professional. I know firsthand the impact of Komen’s research in advancing our knowledge to reduce death rates and improve treatment and survivability of this disease. I’ve seen the value of Komen’s community health programs in the U.S., and I understand the urgency and promise of our global outreach and advocacy work.
As I contemplated joining Komen, all I saw were positives and possibilities, and I was eager to get started.
My first order of business has been to begin an intensive assessment, with the Komen team, of our strengths and opportunities. This will help us set our priorities for the next generation of Susan G. Komen’s work. We are determined to redouble our efforts to fight breast cancer by making even more significant inroads into the disease, by maximizing the impact of all of our work domestically and abroad. In short, we can, and we will, help even more women and men facing this disease through our research, advocacy and outreach. And we will continue to work toward a future without breast cancer.
As I travel through our network over the next weeks and months, I’m eager to hear your thoughts and ideas. Each one of you has played an integral role in the success of this organization in its first 31 years. We are counting on you to help us build an even brighter future for women and men facing this disease.
Judith A. Salerno, M.D., M.S.
P.S. – I’ve joined Twitter! Please follow me at @Judy_KomenCEO