ASCO Applauds Appointment of Dr. W. Kimryn Rathmell as Next NCI Director

Presidential Appointee Is Nationally Recognized Leader in Biomedical Science
For immediate release
November 17, 2023


Jennifer Garvin

Today President Biden announced the appointment of W. Kimryn Rathmell, MD, PhD, Chair of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Physician-in-Chief for Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital and Clinics, as his choice for director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Dr. Rathmell is a nationally recognized oncologist and experienced leader in biomedical science and a leader at the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Statement by Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO, Chief Executive Officer, ASCO, follows:

“We are delighted by the selection of Dr. Rathmell to direct the NCI. She is an exceptional leader who is well-suited to guide the NCI through the unique challenges and opportunities ahead in cancer research. We know she is a passionate advocate for science that promises to advance our knowledge, treatment methodologies, and improve all aspects of care for everyone with cancer.

“Dr. Rathmell is a preeminent cancer researcher who has held several national leadership roles, including those at the National Institute of Health (NIH) Cancer Genome Atlas, a landmark program to catalogue the genetic mutations of cancers, the National Cancer Institute’s Board of Scientific Advisors, and the Department of Defense Kidney Cancer Research Program. She is also known for her deep commitment to championing medical science, ethics in medicine, diversity in academics, physician-scientist career development, and mentoring.

“A graduate of ASCO’s Leadership Development Program, she has held numerous leadership positions, including service on the ASCO Nominating Committee and as president of American Society of Clinical Investigation. A widely respected researcher, she has been inducted into the Association of American Physicians, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Medicine and won the 2021 American Association for Cancer Research Team Science Award.

“With her deep background and expertise, Dr. Rathmell stands out as an ideal choice to continue implementing the National Cancer Plan and ensuring the NCI remains the world’s leading source of cancer research and innovation.

“We are enthusiastic about working alongside Dr. Rathmell and the dedicated professionals at NCI to propel our shared goals of advancing scientific progress and creating a world where cancer is prevented or cured, and every survivor is healthy.”

About ASCO: 

The American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (the Society) and the Association for Clinical Oncology (the Association) are committed to the principle that knowledge conquers cancer and represent nearly 50,000 oncology professionals who care for people living with cancer. Through research, education, and promotion of high quality, equitable patient care, the Society works to conquer cancer and create a world where cancer is prevented or cured, and every survivor is healthy. The Association works to ensure that all individuals with cancer have access to high quality, equitable care; that the cancer care delivery system supports optimal cancer care; and that our nation supports robust federal funding for research on the prevention, screening, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. Learn more at, explore patient education resources at www.Cancer.Net, and follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.