Richard L. Schilsky, MD, Chosen to Serve in New ASCO Leadership Position, Chief Medical Officer

November 1, 2012

Kelly Baldwin

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Richard L. Schilsky, MD, Chief of Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Medicine and Deputy Director of the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been named to the newly-created position of Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). A former ASCO president and Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (FASCO), Dr. Schilsky is a highly respected leader in the field of clinical oncology, specializing in new drug development and treatment of gastrointestinal cancers. He will begin his new position on February 28, 2013.

“Rich has that rare combination of clinical expertise, a formidable research track record, and a warmth and humanity that make him perfect for this role,” said Sandra M. Swain, MD, President of ASCO and Chair of the CMO Search Committee. “Having led many of ASCO’s most important efforts and committees over the years, he is also intimately familiar with ASCO’s programs, staff, and member needs. As president, I look forward to working with him. I am sure he will provide wise counsel as we advance ASCO’s mission.”

The Chief Medical Officer position was created by the Board of Directors to provide additional senior leadership and support to ASCO’s fast-growing quality programs, public policy and communications efforts, as well as fundraising for ASCO’s affiliated Conquer Cancer Foundation. The position will report to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Allen S. Lichter, MD.

As a past president of ASCO (2008-2009), former Chair of ASCO’s Cancer Research, Communications, and Government Relations Committees, and a current member of ASCO’s Conquer Cancer Foundation Board, Dr. Schilsky brings with him a firm grasp of the organization including its history, mission, structure and operations.

As a leader in clinical oncology, Dr. Schilsky’s impressive experience and contributions to the field encompass the qualifications the Board of Directors was seeking in a CMO candidate. These include a deep passion for and track record of accomplishments in cancer medicine; experience in both clinical medicine and clinical research; prior leadership within ASCO; an in-depth understanding of the current trends and issues affecting oncology clinical practice; and a leader with outstanding communication and interpersonal skills, who is able to bridge the worlds of oncology, public policy, philanthropy, the media and the lay public.

“Throughout my career I have tried to remain focused on improving the treatment and outcomes of people with cancer,” said Dr. Schilsky. “I’ve been an ASCO member for 32 years and I admire the organization tremendously. It’s made an enormous difference in my work and in the care of my patients and it has provided countless opportunities for my younger colleagues and trainees.”

“The field of clinical oncology has been responsible for dramatic improvements in patient survival and quality of life over the past fifty years, and ASCO has been central to that progress,” said Allen S. Lichter, MD, CEO of ASCO. “I look forward to welcoming Rich to our team during this very exciting time in cancer science, and this very challenging time in cancer medicine when all of us must look harder at the quality and value of care we provide.”

Dr. Schilsky is a board certified medical oncologist and one of the nation’s leading specialists in gastrointestinal cancers. He has spent the majority of his career at the University of Chicago where he joined the faculty in 1984 subsequently rising to the rank of Professor of Medicine and serving, in many roles including Associate Dean for Clinical Research in the Biological Sciences Division and as the Director of the University of Chicago Cancer Research Center. He is currently the Chief of the Section of Hematology/Oncology in the Department of Medicine, and the Deputy Director of the University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.

From 1995 to 2010, Dr. Schilsky served as chair of the Cancer and Leukemia Group B, a national cooperative clinical research group funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). He has extensive experience working with both the NCI and the Food and Drug Administration having served as a member and chair of the NCI Board of Scientific Advisors, as a member of the NCI Clinical and Translational Research Committee, and as a member and chair of the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee of the FDA. Dr. Schilsky has served on the editorial boards of many cancer journals including theJournal of Clinical Oncology and, most recently was an Associate Editor of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and Senior Associate Editor of Molecular Oncology, among others.

Early in his career he worked in the Clinical Pharmacology Branch of the Division of Cancer Treatment at the NCI, and was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology and Oncology at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine, and was the head of the hematology/medical oncology unit at the Harry S. Truman Veterans’ Administration Hospital in Columbia, Missouri.

Dr. Schilsky received his bachelor’s degree (1971) from the University of Pennsylvania and his medical degree (1975) from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He trained in internal medicine at Parkland Memorial Hospital, UT-Southwestern Medical School, in Dallas.

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About ASCO
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is the world’s leading professional organization representing physicians who care for people with cancer. With more than 30,000 members, ASCO is committed to improving cancer care through scientific meetings, educational programs and peer-reviewed journals. ASCO is supported by its affiliate organization, the Conquer Cancer Foundation, which funds ground-breaking research and programs that make a tangible difference in the lives of people with cancer. Patient-oriented cancer information is available at

About the Conquer Cancer Foundation
The Conquer Cancer Foundation is working to create a world free from the fear of cancer by funding breakthrough research, by sharing knowledge with physicians and patients worldwide, and by supporting initiatives to ensure that all people have access to high-quality cancer care. Working in close collaboration with a global network of top scientists and clinicians, as well as leading advocacy and research organizations, the Foundation draws on the passion and expertise of the more than 30,000 oncology professionals who are members of its affiliate organization, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). For more information, visit