A Message from LCA’s Board Chair

2018-03-23T18:36:34+00:00April 12th, 2017|News|2 Comments

Cheryl Healton

By Cheryl  G. Healton, Dr. PH

Nice to meet you!

Although I just took the role of Board Chair, the truth is, I’ve been here alongside you for over a decade since I joined Lung Cancer Alliance’s Board of Directors in 2005.  I’ve spent my entire career working on a variety of health issues including tobacco control, substance abuse and AIDS, public education and health policy. Currently, I serve as Dean of the College of Global Public Health at New York University and hold an academic appointment as Professor of College of Global Public Health.

Prior to joining NYU, I devoted 14 years leading Legacy (now known as the Truth Initiative), as President and CEO of the ground-breaking national public health foundation that has made significant contributions to reducing the youth smoking rate from 23% in 2000 to the current low of 6%.

The deadly toll of tobacco is something I know well, both professionally and personally.  As a result, lung cancer – the nation’s number one cancer killer – is a disease about which I am well informed, but it goes deeper than that.

I am also a former two-plus-packs-a-day smoker who finally quit on Mother’s Day in 1992. While I’ve lost four family members to lung cancer and many more over the years due to tobacco-related causes, it was knowing I was addicted to nicotine myself that nudged me to quit.

My public health — and personal — background give me a unique perspective on dealing with this disease, but I also know that everyone who has been touched by lung cancer has their own personal connection. The bottom line though is that we’re all in this fight together — people like me who quit smoking, people who still smoke and people who have never smoked a day in their lives.

That’s why I’m honored to assume the position of Board Chair with Lung Cancer Alliance because it gives me a leadership platform to fight for meaningful change in the pursuit of fulfilling LCA’s mission of saving lives and advancing research by empowering those living with and at risk for lung cancer.

To be sure, it’s an amazing time in the fight against lung cancer. Never before have so many treatments been available and early detection opportunities exist to catch this disease at its most treatable stage.  But there is so much that can and needs to be done. That’s why I enthusiastically accepted this important appointment and why I eagerly look forward to seeing what we will accomplish next.


  1. Michael Levin April 13, 2017 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    I send best wishes to you on your appointment. Together, let us strive to achieve early detection and better treatment opportunities for all lung cancer patients.

    As a survivor and LCA advocate, I look forward to the opportunity to meet you at an early date.

    Best regards.

    Michael Levin
    Atlanta, GA

  2. Wanda Langford April 15, 2017 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    Dr. Healton,

    Thank you so much for accepting this important position. Your wondrrful message touched my heart.

    It wasn’t until after my husband passed away in September if 2012 that were even learned of this organization. At that time the neither the oncologist nor nurses at Florida Hospital, Orlando were aware of it.

    Like many others my string, handsome husband had been misdiagnosed and actually treated for GERD for two years prior. Finally a PA in his PCP’s office ordered a chest Xray. He had not smoked in over 30 years but they discovered a 13 cm tumor in his lower left lung that had already metasticized to a lymph node on the right side of his torso. It was too late. He lived 20 months.

    In our own small way my family and I have been “spreading the news” since, early detection screenings, general awareness about the disease and the Lung Cancer Alliance organization.

    My prayers go out to you and your staff as you fight to help the victims, their families and to end this insidious disease.

    Thank you again.

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