ASCO Applauds Dr. W. Kimryn Rathmell Being Appointed NCI Director

Presidential Appointee Is Nationally Recognized Oncologist, Leader in Biomedical Science
November 17, 2023

President Biden announced the appointment of W. Kimryn Rathmell, MD, PhD, as his choice for director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) on November 17, 2023.

Dr. Rathmell, an ASCO leader, is currently the Chair of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Physician-in-Chief for Vanderbilt University Adult Hospital and Clinics. She is a nationally recognized oncologist who has pioneered basic science investigation of kidney cancer and an experienced leader in biomedical science.

“We are delighted by the selection of Dr. Rathmell to direct the NCI,” said ASCO CEO Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO, in a statement. “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.”

In addition to being a prominent cancer researcher, Dr. Rathmell 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.

“Dr. Rathmell is the talented and visionary leader the National Cancer Institute needs to drive us toward ending cancer as we know it," said President Biden in a statement. "Throughout her career, she has been committed to advancing discovery through scientific research, maintaining a steadfast commitment to caring for her patients, and demonstrating leadership in preparing the next generation of researchers."

Dr. Rathmell is a graduate of ASCO’s Leadership Development Program, and she has held numerous Society leadership positions, including service on the ASCO Nominating Committee and as president of American Society of Clinical Investigation. She is also a widely respected researcher who 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,” Dr. Hudis said. “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.”

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