Nov 20, 2020
Julie R. Gralow, MD, FACP, FASCO, professor of medical oncology and director of breast medical oncology at the University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, has been named chief medical officer (CMO) of ASCO. She is a highly respected leader in the field of clinical oncology with deep expertise in patient care, research, education, and global health. Dr. Gralow will succeed current CMO and executive vice president Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FACP, FSCT, FASCO, who will retire in February 2021. She will begin her new position on February 15, 2021.
“Julie has all the qualities we were looking for in ASCO’s new CMO,” said 2020-2021 ASCO president Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO, FASCO. “She has a vision for the future of oncology backed up by a significant record of accomplishments in clinical cancer care and research. She knows how to lead large, multidisciplinary teams. And she is a thoughtful and compassionate person. I know she will provide wise counsel as we work together to advance ASCO’s mission.”
The CMO provides medical and scientific leadership for ASCO’s research endeavors, public policy initiatives, communications efforts, and global programs and services that promote high-quality cancer care, as well as fundraising for ASCO’s affiliated foundation, Conquer Cancer. The CMO is a member of ASCO’s Executive Leadership Team and reports to the CEO. To fill the position, ASCO engaged the minority-owned executive search firm Bridge Partners, which conducted an extensive search process and presented the organization with a diverse, exceptionally talented pool of candidates.
“This is a pivotal time for ASCO and in the broader field of oncology,” said ASCO CEO Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO. “The pace of scientific progress has never been greater, but COVID-19 has brought challenges to virtually every aspect of cancer research and care. I look forward to having Julie on our leadership team as we navigate these unprecedented times while remaining focused on improving the care of patients during the pandemic and beyond.”
Dr. Gralow’s impressive experience and contributions to the field embody the qualifications the ASCO Board of Directors and senior leaders sought in a CMO candidate. These include a passion for and track record of accomplishments in cancer medicine; experience in clinical research and global oncology; an in-depth understanding of the current trends and issues affecting community and academic clinical practice; a deep commitment to advancing equity in cancer care; and a leader with outstanding communication and interpersonal skills who is trusted and respected around the world.
A long-time volunteer on numerous ASCO committees, task forces, and guidelines groups; a mentor of young oncologists through various ASCO initiatives; and a lecturer for ASCO’s international courses, Dr. Gralow possesses a firm grasp of the organization’s mission, priorities, and operations that will serve her well in this new role.
“My relationship with ASCO began in 1995, when I received an ASCO Career Development Award that ignited my career in oncology,” said Dr. Gralow. “For the past 25 years, ASCO has provided me with many opportunities for learning and growth, as it has for many other oncology professionals. By advancing our field’s knowledge, ASCO has made an enormous difference in the care of people with cancer, including my own patients. I have tremendous admiration for the organization and am honored to contribute to it as CMO.”
About Dr. Gralow
Dr. Gralow is a board-certified medical oncologist and one of the nation’s leading breast cancer specialists. She has spent most of her career at the University of Washington, where she joined the faculty in 1994. She subsequently rose through the ranks to become a professor in the Department of Medicine and has served in numerous roles at the university, including director of the Women’s Cancer Genetics and Risk Reduction Clinic. Since 2011, she has been a professor in the Clinical Research Division of the Seattle-based Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She currently serves as the Jill Bennett Endowed Professor of Breast Cancer at the University of Washington School of Medicine and the medical director of Women’s Cancer-Related Population Health at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, a world-renowned cancer treatment center that brings together the leading cancer specialists of Fred Hutchinson, Seattle Children's, and UW Medicine.
Dr. Gralow brings extensive expertise in global cancer care and education to the role of ASCO CMO. In 2003, she founded the Women’s Empowerment Cancer Advocacy Network (WE CAN), an organization to support patient advocates in low- and middle-resource countries, enabling them to participate in addressing the burden of breast and cervical cancers in their regions. She is an adjunct professor in the University of Washington’s Department of Global Health and serves as an advisory council member for the Uganda Cancer Institute’s adult Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Training Program and as co-chair of the ASCO Resource-Stratified Guideline Advisory Group. She is also on the editorial board of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO)/ASCO Global Curriculum in Medical Oncology. In these roles, she has collaborated frequently with Ministries of Health and the World Health Organization.
An executive officer of breast and lung cancer for SWOG, a global cancer research community funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Dr. Gralow has considerable experience in developing and conducting large, national cancer clinical trials; strategic planning; training of young investigators; and partnering with the NCI and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). She has served on the editorial board of multiple oncology journals, including the Journal of Bone Oncology, Breast Diseases, and The Breast Journal, and as an editor for ASCO’s patient website, Cancer.Net.
Dr. Gralow has been deeply involved in many cancer-related nonprofit organizations both in the U.S. and internationally, serving on the National Scientific Advisory Council of Susan G. Komen for the Cure; on the Medical Advisory Board of Global Focus on Cancer; and on the Board of Directors of the Pink Oak Cancer Trust, a cancer treatment fund in Nigeria, and the Peace Island Medical Center, a 10-bed rural access medical center on San Juan Island, Washington, among others.
She received her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and her medical degree from the University of Southern California School of Medicine. She trained in internal medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard Medical School and completed a medical oncology fellowship at University of Washington/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.