2017 Donald H. Gemson Cancer Research & Public Policy Breakfast

Friday, April 21, 2017 -
7:45am to 10:00am
Hard Rock Cafe Times Square
1501 Broadway
New York, NY 10036


Please email michael.davoli@cancer.org to be put on a wait list for tickets. You will be notified if tickets become available. 



In Honor Of 2017 Donald H. Gemson Award Recipient

Honorable Andrew Cuomo, Governor, New York


  • Kathleen Scotto, Ph.D

    • Vice Chancellor of Research, Rutgers Biomedical & Health Sciences; Dean, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Professor of Pharmacology, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; Member, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey; Vice-Chair, New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research

  • Honorable Andrew Cuomo, Governor, State of New York

  • Arnold M. Baskies, MD

    • Chair, American Cancer Society Board of Directors

  • Additional speakers to be announced

Thank You To Our Sponsors

Diamond Sponsor

  • Pfizer


  • AstraZeneca, Bristol Myers Squibb, Abbvie, Genentech


  • Johnson and Johnson, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center


  • Amgen, Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA), Reid, McNally & Savage, Kasirer Consulting, Sandi Cassese, Kris Kim, John Manna, Grace Otto-Kurak


  • Robert Kugler


This spring, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, will return to the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City for its annual cancer research breakfast. In 2017, the breakfast will take on a new name and a larger goal. The 2017 Donald H. Gemson Cancer Research & Public Policy Breakfast will not only highlight & celebrate the accomplishments and innovative strides of cancer researchers, but also honor leaders in the public and private sector who have demonstrated leadership in broad-based policy change in the fight against cancer.  Public and private sector cancer advocates from across New York State and New Jersey are invited to join ACS CAN at this policy breakfast. Ticket details will be available soon. To see photos from the 2016 ACS CAN Cancer Research and Public Policy Breakfast go to here

Corporate and Individual Sponsorship 

Corporate and invividual sponsorhip opportunities are available for anyone interested in support this event and ACS CAN's work. Click here to learn more.

Host Committee

ACS CAN is building a host committee for the 2017 Donald H. Gemson Cancer Research & Public Policy Breakfast.  Click here to learn more.

For more information, contact Michael Davoli, 212-237-3853 or michael.davoli@cancer.org. www.acscan.org/gemson

What is the Donald H. Gemson Cancer Prevention Public Policy Award?


Award Criteria:

The award recognizes an individual who exemplifies the spirit and work of Don Gemson and the Eastern Division of the American Cancer Society in developing, advocating, advancing and/or implementing prevention-focused policies and practices to reduce the incidence and burden of cancer.  These policies and activities should be aligned with the Board's official mission outcomes; consistent with science/evidence based strategy; and population reaching in their impact.  These may involve government action, community-based activities or wide-ranging changes at other institutions, such as businesses, unions, or hospitals. Special attention will be paid to the impact on high-risk populations, and the potential for reducing health disparities. Individuals who influence policy within the states of New Jersey and New York are eligible for the award.  Public and elected officials, advocates and community leaders, as well as decision-makers and difference-makers in business, health care and labor are all considered.

Who is Donald H. Gemson?

Don Gemson spent his career focused on a preventive health agenda, devoted to the proposition that our communities have it within their power to help residents prevent disease and improve their health.  This is overwhelmingly the case with cancer, and steps to strengthen prevention activities are paramount to the success of the American Cancer Society. Dr. Gemson's work focused strongly on high risk populations, people without access to regular medical care, without insurance, with high incidences of smoking and other high risk behaviors, with high rates of inadequately treated cancer.

As a physician, Dr. Gemson was involved with the Harlem Prevention Center, a CDC-funded public health initiative managed by the Harlem Hospital Center, where he brought both his medical training and his strong sense of social justice to the task.  Dr. Gemson felt very strongly about the role of public health in reducing health disparities among high-risk populations and about focusing interventions on our most vulnerable populations - the indigent, uninsured, and non-English speaking.

Dr. Gemson understood the importance of population reaching interventions by working through worksites, health systems, and strategic alliances. He was a leader in the area of corporate wellness and modeled this through his work as Corporate Medical Director for Merrill Lynch. He also played an important role in the development of the consulting tool which is used in the American Cancer Society's Workplace Solutions package to evaluate corporate policies and practices supporting healthy worker behavior in terms of healthy eating, being physically active, and avoiding tobacco and assuring that workers have adequate health insurance and access to screening.

Dr. Gemson chaired the New York City Coalition on Smoking and Health and was a member of the NYS Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Advisory Board.  These groups laid the foundation for establishing the Eastern Division as a leader in tobacco control policy with high cigarette taxes, the strongest clean indoor air policies in the country and a well-funded, effective state tobacco control program (in New York State).

Past honorees include:

  • Hon. Thomas DiNapoli, Comptroller, New York State

  • Dr. Fred Jacobs, Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, New Jersey

  • Ronald Nelson, CEO, Avis Budget Group

  • Robert J. Congel, Founder & Chairman, The Pyramid Companies

  • Hon. Frank R. Lautenberg, United State Senate

  • Fikry Isaac, MD, MPH, Johnson & Johnson

  • The Related Companies

  • James B. Milliken, Chancellor, City University of New York

  • Hon. Carl Heastie, Speaker, New York State Assembly

  • Hon. Loretta Weinberg, Majority Leader, New Jersey State Senate