The Ellen Stovall Award: Jonathan Stovall, Douglas W. Blayney, MD, and Shelley Fuld Nasso

From left to right: Jonathan Stovall, Douglas W. Blayney, and Shelley Fuld Nasso

At the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship’s (NCCS) 30th Anniversary Reception on October 13, 2016, NCCS presented the inaugural Ellen Stovall Award for Leadership in Patient-Centered Care. The award was created to honor former NCCS CEO Ellen Stovall, who led the organization for more than twenty years and passed away in January 2016 from complications related to her cancer treatments.

The award recipient was Douglas W. Blayney, MD, FACP, past president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and who worked closely with Ellen Stovall for many years. Together they helped initiate the ASCO Quality Symposium, which has become the leading cancer quality meeting in the world.

Shelley Fuld Nasso Remembers Ellen Stovall

NCCS CEO Shelley Fuld Nasso thanked the attendees to the NCCS 30th anniversary reception, many of them current and former NCCS staff and colleagues of Ms. Stovall, for their contributions to the field of cancer survivorship. “Everyone in this room today has helped in some way have an impact on our work over the past 30 years and on the lives of people with cancer,” Ms. Fuld Nasso said.

She continued, “As we commemorate this milestone in our history, we also, of course, have to recognize the devastating loss that we at NCCS felt, and all of us in the cancer community, when Ellen Stovall passed away earlier this year–our former CEO, dear friend, and mentor… Ellen left an indelible mark on all of us… She’s really our guiding light at NCCS and I often find myself thinking, ‘What would Ellen do?'” After a short video tribute to Ellen’s life and advocacy, Shelley invited Ellen Stovall’s son, Jonathan Stovall, on stage to present the award named in his mother’s honor.

Dr. Blayney Accepts the Ellen Stovall Award

In her introduction, Shelley Fuld Nasso highlighted the collaborative efforts of Dr. Blayney and Ms. Stovall. “Dr. Blayney did not shy away from Ellen’s demands that much more needed to be done to ensure access to patient-centered care, or her insistence that patient satisfaction with their cancer care really did matter. Instead, he was a dedicated partner in these efforts.” She continued, “When Ellen and Doug were working shoulder to shoulder on a wide range of cancer quality improvement efforts, they were pioneers. Not all their peers supported, or even saw the point of all their dogged efforts to improve quality.”

Dr. Blayney accepted the inaugural award and honored Ms. Stovall’s work and advocacy for cancer survivors in his remarks. “Ellen was a living reminder of cancer survivorship,” said Dr. Blayney. “She lived her life with purpose and never-failing grace. She articulated for so many audiences, the purpose of our work, and reminded us that it was always about the patient. I am honored with the Stovall award.”

Douglas W. Blayney, MD, FACP is a professor of medicine at the Stanford Comprehensive Cancer Center. His clinical interest is breast cancer, and his operational interests and research focuses on quality improvement in cancer care systems, improvement of the patient experience, and the optimum use of information technology to enhance these missions. He is past president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and was the founding editor-in-chief of ASCO’s Journal of Oncology Practice.

The Ellen Stovall Award: 2017 and Beyond

At the reception, NCCS announced that beginning in 2017, the Ellen Stovall Award will be an annual, nationwide competition. It will be the first call to action that specifically urges cancer survivors and caregivers to nominate providers who are making dramatic improvements in how they care for cancer patients and their families. With recent changes in care towards value-based reimbursements and the Oncology Care Model, NCCS seeks to highlight providers who are proactively and successfully embracing patient-focused care that is recognized by the very patients they are serving. Dr. Blayney will serve as co-chair of an advisory committee to establish the award’s criteria and evaluate nominations.

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