From 1992 to 2008, Ellen Stovall was the president and CEO of NCCS, the oldest survivor-led organization advocating for quality cancer care for all Americans. This video, filmed and produced in 2008, features interviews from NCCS co-founders Dr. Patti Ganz and Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan, Dr. Julia Rowland, Dr. Zeke Emanuel, the late General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, and others.
Ellen L. Stovall was a 45-year survivor of three bouts with cancer and advocated for more than 30 years to improve cancer care in America. After leading NCCS as president and CEO for 16 years, Ellen served as the Senior Health Policy Advisor. She was a founding member of the Institute of Medicine’s National Cancer Policy Board and its successor, the National Cancer Policy Forum. Prior to the establishment of the Forum, Ellen was vice-chair of the National Cancer Policy Board and co-chaired its Committee on Cancer Survivorship. In that capacity, she co-edited the Institute of Medicine’s report “From Cancer Patient to Cancer Survivor: Lost in Transition,” which addressed the issues adult cancer survivors face.
Ellen served as vice-chair of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s National Advisory Committee to Promote Excellence in Care at the End of Life, and as the vice-chair of the Foundation’s National Advisory Committee for Pursuing Perfection: Raising the Bar for Health Care Performance. Ellen served on the Boards of Directors of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and The Leapfrog Group, and she served on a committee of the National Quality Forum (NQF) to establish consensus around cancer care quality measures. She also served on several advisory panels, working groups and committees of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Ms. Stovall also served a six-year term on the National Cancer Institute’s National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB), an appointment she received in 1992 from President Bill Clinton.
Ellen passed away on January 5 suddenly from cardiac complications due to her cancer treatments. To many of us—likely thousands—she was a trustworthy friend, a mentor, a collaborator, a visionary. Ellen was all of this and more, and always with a generous heart, a keen mind, a quick wit, and unswerving ethics. How fortunate we were to know her; how grateful we are for her thinking and her work for all cancer survivors.
For information on the arrangements for Ellen’s services, see this post: “Remembering Ellen Stovall: Arrangements Announcement.”
If you wish make a gift in honor of Ellen’s legacy, please click here to donate to the Ellen Stovall Memorial Fund.
Below is a guestbook where you can share your thoughts and remembrances of our dear friend and tireless advocate Ellen Stovall.
Ellen showed us that one person can make a difference, and for that, she has changed the world.
She will be missed dearly but her vision and legacy will impact millions.
Many blessings to all of you,
Ty and Sherry Walker
I do not know how to begin to adequately honor you. You touched so many in ways that were meaningful and lasting. You were kind, yet firm. You were supportive, yet directive. You were funny, serious, and sensible – each at just the right times. You were tireless in your pursuit of excellence on behalf of people touched by cancer – millions of them! You were accepting of those who were new to this work and brought all of us along with a style and grace which we can only hope to imitate. You were a wise adviser, a thoughtful strategist, a talented messenger and a generous collaborator. Most of all, I am eternally grateful to call you my friend. You are and will be missed every day. Until we meet again, rest peacefully, my friend.
She has left an indelible mark on ASCO as well as the world. Her single mindedness about being centered on the PERSON, not the disease, slowly but surely changed ASCO. We went from the "lunatic fringe" to an integral part of every thing oncologists should be doing.
I can't be here -- training the next generation of Advance Practice Nurses at Hopkins on how to do palliative care -- but think daily of Ellen, her raised eyebrows and quiet exasperation, followed by her rock-solid determination to make us better. And she did.
I considered Ellen a good friend. She aided my family significantly by recommending researchers and care givers who could help my brother Will when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Thanks in part to Ellen's guidance, Will survived nearly a year instead of the initial three-month diagnosis.
Ellen helped me in numerous other ways, and we collaborated successfully on many projects and campaigns to support NCCS.
Although comparatively short in her physical stature, Ellen towered above all in advocating for cancer survivorship, and life.
Thank you, Ellen!
She was truly dedicated, selfless, self-deprecating, and got things done with good humor and grace. The world was better because she was here, and much the worse for her being gone.
One of my goals in life will be to live up to what she would want me to do.
With love and condolences to her family, friends, and her amazing colleagues at NCCS,