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Karen Knudsen
Karen Knudsen
CEO of American Cancer Society

Karen Knudsen MBA, PhD

Karen E. Knudsen, MBA PhD, is the CEO of both the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). As an internationally recognized oncology leader, healthcare executive, and advocate, Dr. Knudsen guides both organizations toward the goal of improving the lives of cancer patients and their families.

Under Dr. Knudsen, ACS adopted a tripartite strategy to improve lives, resting on the pillars of discovery, advocacy, and patient support. In the discovery (research) pillar, ACS is the largest non-profit funder of cancer research outside the US government, generating breakthroughs in cancer prevention, detection, and treatment that helped to reduce cancer mortality by 33% since 1991. The advocacy arm functions at the state and national level to provide access to these breakthroughs and end cancer disparities through legislation and policy change. Finally, ACS patient support teams work in 5,000 communities across the country to provide patient education, navigation, transportation, and lodging near cancer care. Combined, ACS touches more than 50 million lives each year, and leads the way in ending cancer as we know it, for everyone.

Prior to joining ACS, Dr. Knudsen was the EVP of Oncology Services for Jefferson Health and director of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, one of the elite National Cancer Institute’s NCI-Designated Cancer Centers in the US. Dr. Knudsen is well known for her practice-changing discoveries in prostate cancer, contributing to new, effective cancer treatments. In addition to leading ACS, Dr. Knudsen currently holds a number of thought leadership roles across the nation, serving on the board of advisors for the National Cancer Institute, and on 12 external advisory boards for NCI-Designated Cancer Centers. She is an active member of several committees with the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO), in addition to serving on other academic and for-profit advisory boards.