It is within the power of individuals to make healthy choices, and it is within the power of government to structure the physical informational, and social environment to make health the easier choice.— Lawrence O. Gostin, JD, LLD
President Barack Obama has tapped Lawrence O. Gostin, JD, LLD, Georgetown University Professor and Faculty Director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown Law, to serve as a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB). He will serve a 6-year term.
The 18 NCAB members are appointed by the President to advise and assist the Director of the National Cancer Institute, the federal government’s lead agency for cancer research.
Dr. Gostin is a legal scholar and a proponent of law as a tool to improve public health, such as the implementation of taxes to reduce tobacco use and sugar intake.
“We are on the verge of momentous transformations in preventing and treating cancer through vaccines and immunotherapies to personalized medicine,” said Dr. Gostin. “But what I will stress during my term on the advisory board is prevention through behavior change: tobacco and alcohol control, healthy diet, and physical activity.
“It is within the power of individuals to make healthy choices, and it is within the power of government to structure the physical, informational, and social environment to make health the easier choice,” said Dr. Gostin, who is also Professor of Medicine at Georgetown’s School of Medicine.
Louis M. Weiner, MD, Director of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, said Dr. Gostin’s selection underscores the critical contributions his experience in public health law can make in shaping the nation’s effort to reduce the burden of cancer.
“The cancer community will benefit from his contributions as we continually look for fresh strategies to capitalize on new information that comes from research,” said Dr. Weiner.
President Obama also named five other appointees to the NCAB: Francis Ali-Osman, DSc, a surgeon and pathologist at Duke University; Scott Hiebert, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry, Medicine, and Cancer Research at Vanderbilt University; Electra D. Paskett, PhD, Professor of Cancer Research at The Ohio State University; Nancy Raab-Traub, PhD, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Margaret R. Spitz, MD, MPH, a professor providing strategic direction for the Population Sciences Program at the Baylor College of Medicine. ■