Nationally Recognized Public Health Crusader Joins ACS

Alvaro Carrascal at Podium

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Alvaro Carrascal, M.D., M.P.H., Named American Cancer Society Senior Vice President of Cancer Control, to Lead All Cancer Prevention and Public Education Efforts in New York and New Jersey

Albany, N.Y. (May 31, 2011) – He’s one of the nation’s leading public health advocates and has been in charge of all of New York State’s HIV-related health care and supportive services. Now Alvaro Carrascal, M.D., M.P.H., will bring his 20-plus years of experience at the forefront of public health to the fight against cancer as the new American Cancer Society Senior Vice President of Cancer Control for New York and New Jersey, effective May 31.

“There are few people in public health who have a list of significant accomplishments to their credit, like that of Dr. Carrascal,” said Donald Distasio, CEO of the American Cancer Society of New York and New Jersey. “He has moved mountains in New York’s battle against HIV. He’s helped address the epidemic of Hepatitis C, promoted smoking cessation within HIV programs and uncovered major trends in HIV prevalence in older populations. It is not a bold prediction to say that Dr. Carrascal will have a major impact in the fight against cancer in New York and New Jersey.”

As senior vice president of cancer control, Dr. Carrascal will direct and participate in the planning, development, execution, and evaluation of strategies for the Society’s prevention, early detection, advocacy and patient and family service efforts across New York and New Jersey.  More than 151,000 people are diagnosed with cancer each year between those two states. As part of that work, he will lead collaborative staff and volunteer teams to build and strengthen alliances with priority health care systems, leading employers, legislators, and professional organizations to transform the health of our communities. Additionally, Dr. Carrascal is charged with ensuring that all strategies are focused on reaching a broad population base and include targeted reach to underserved and/or diverse constituents.

“I’m honored to join the American Cancer Society and thousands of advocates, providers, researchers and volunteers in the fight against cancer,” said Dr. Carrascal. “With more than half a million Americans dying of cancer every year there is no more urgent fight than this one. By strengthening prevention, promoting early diagnosis and better treatment, improving quality of life for survivors and addressing disparities, we can make significant inroads in cancer control.”

Since December of 2007, Dr. Carrascal has served as Division Director of HIV and Hepititas Health Care at the AIDS Institute of the New York State Department of Health. While there, he was responsible for policy formulation, program planning, design and implementation, directing resource allocation, program evaluation, management, supervision of professional staff and representing the AIDS Institute in events and activities related to HIV and Hepatitis C health care. He was also a member of the executive management team responsible for day-to-day operations of the AIDS Institute and assessed demographic, epidemiologic, health care delivery, health care financing and advocacy trends.

Prior to that, Dr. Carrascal served a variety of roles in the Department of Health’s AIDS Institute, dating back to 1991. His vast experience includes dealing with issues related to disease management, advocacy, access to health care, design an evaluation of program impacting personal health behaviors (prevention), clinical education and awareness of health risks to the general public, outreach/collaboration with clinical care providers and partnerships with state, federal and private sectors constituencies toward a common goal.

Dr. Carrascal earned his master's degree in public health from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, and his Doctor in Medicine and Surgery (M.D.) from Universidad Industrial de Santander in Colombia. He serves as a professor in the School of Public Health at State University of New York at Albany. Fluent in Spanish, he also has knowledge of French and Portuguese and has considerable experience in reaching diverse communities to address disparities, including experience in Latin America and South Africa. He was instrumental in establishing collaboration agreements with schools of public health in Costa Rica and Colombia. In 2008 he traveled to South Africa to conduct meetings with academic officials and community organizations in Pretoria, Johannesburg, and Cape Town to explore collaborative partnerships in the areas of health, social development, and education.

A Loudonville, N.Y. resident, Dr. Carrascal will be based out of the Society's office there.

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About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.