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Prevent Cancer Foundation Award Goes to Big Tobacco Foe, Sharon Y. Eubanks, JD


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Sharon Y. Eubanks, JD

Sharon Y. Eubanks, JD

One Friday afternoon in March 1999, Pat Glynn, an attorney and manager at the Department of Justice, called a colleague, Sharon Y. Eubanks, JD, to talk about a newly formed Tobacco Task Force. Full of enthusiasm, he described plans to bring a federal suit against the major tobacco companies on charges of massive fraud and violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

“This sounds like fun,” Dr. Eubanks said. “Heck, I might join you.”

Seven years later, the Department of Justice prevailed in United States v. Philip Morris USA, et al, with Dr. Eubanks as lead counsel. The court ordered Phillip Morris and the other companies to make corrective statements on topics about which they had historically deceived and misled the public. The ruling withstood several appeals, including one to the Supreme Court.

“We’re all impressed that she stuck with it for so long and prevailed,” said Carolyn R. “Bo” Aldigé, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Prevent Cancer Foundation, which awarded Dr. Eubanks its 2018 James L. Mulshine, MD, National Leadership Award. “The fact that she would stand up to the whole industry is remarkable.”

About the Award

Dr. Mulshine, who is Associate Director of the Institute for Translational Medicine at Rush University, presented the award at the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s 15th Quantitative Imaging Workshop in Alexandria, Virginia. The annual workshops provide a forum to exchange ideas on quantitative computed tomography imaging for early disease management, as well as on policy and advocacy for lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cardiovascular screening.

“We named the award to honor Jim Mulshine for his incredible leadership in the field,” said Ms. Aldigé in an interview. “His was the vision behind the workshops.”

Dr. Eubanks has chronicled the Department of Justice’s landmark suit in Bad Acts: The Racketeering Case Against the Tobacco Industry, coauthored with Stanton Glantz, PhD, Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and published by the American Public Health Association. Now in private practice, she continues to put pressure on the tobacco industry as a member of the Advisory Committee for the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at USCF and as a board member and officer of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights.

“I am honored by this award,” she said. “And I can’t wait to show it to my children!” 

DISCLOSURE: Dr. Eubanks and Ms. Aldigé reported no conflicts of interest.


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