The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) presented its 2018 Advocate of the Year Award to Alexandra Thomas, MD, for her exceptional contributions and commitment to the society’s policy and advocacy efforts. As a 2017-2018 participant in ASCO’s Leadership Development Program (LDP), Dr. Thomas went above and beyond to improve research and access to treatment for people living with cancer.
Dr. Thomas’ participation in the ASCO LDP was one of her first forays into advocacy with ASCO, however, she quickly became an expert. Duri, Dr. Thomas met twice with her elected officials in North Carolina and made multiple trips to Capitol Hill—including a trip to participate in the 2018 ASCO Advocacy Summit—to directly speak with her lawmakers about policy priorities. She also answered the call from ASCO to frequently send personal messages to lawmakers through the ACT Network to ensure that her representatives in Congress and her state legislature heard the perspectives of a cancer care provider.
“Alexandra has made a tremendous commitment to advocacy over the last year,” said Melissa Dillmon, MD, chair of ASCO’s Government Relations Committee. “She has taken the skills and strategies that she learned in ASCO’s Leadership Development Program and applied them in her engagements with lawmakers at the state and federal levels. Her work to ensure that the needs of her patients – as well as all people with cancer in our country – are being met through conscientious health policy and legislation is admirable.”
Dr. Thomas is a medical oncologist at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem and Clemmons, NC, where she works predominantly with patients with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome and breast cancer. Dr. Thomas earned her medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, completed her residency at Stanford University Hospital, and a fellowship at the University of Iowa College of Medicine.
Dr. Thomas received her award during the 2019 ASCO Advocacy Summit, where the society also recognized its 2018 ASCO Advocacy Champions for their extraordinary contributions to a variety of advocacy activities, including meetings with federal and state lawmakers and agency staff, participating in outreach, and hosting in-district meetings and site visits during Congressional work periods.