Government Relations Forum Convenes at Duke Cancer Institute

On Friday, March 18, more than 20 cancer center government relations representatives gathered at Duke Cancer Institute for the annual spring meeting of the AACI Government Relations Forum. Duke Cancer Institute deputy director, Steven Patierno, PhD, kicked off the forum by providing the participants with a tour of Duke’s facilities.

Forum participants conversed about federal policy issues impacting the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute, including Fiscal Year 2017 appropriations. The group also discussed patient access and hospital payment issues, as well as the Senate “Innovation” legislation, which is expected to complement the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s 21st Century Cures Act, which passed the House last July. Attendees also conferred on state policy issues affecting cancer centers including “Right to Try” drug laws as well as state medical marijuana policies and implementation.

Duke Cancer Institute executive director Michael B. Kastan, MD, PhD, provided an update on the cancer center’s growth as well as its collaborative relationship with neighboring cancer center UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Kastan also highlighted the Consortium for Canine Comparative Oncology (C3O), a collaboration between Duke Cancer Institute and North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, to improve cancer care through the study of naturally occurring cancers in humans and canines.

The AACI Government Relations Forum was created to allow cancer centers to coordinate efforts in educating Members of Congress about the cancer research enterprise and its positive impact on patients. The Forum convenes twice annually in-person and via teleconference as needed to discuss policy issues.

The next in-person meeting will coincide with the AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting in Chicago, on Monday, October 24. To join the Forum or to be added to the AACI Government Relations distribution list please contact AACI’s director of government relations, Jennifer Pegher.