Richard Wender, MD
Chief Cancer Control Officer
Richard C. Wender, MD, is the chief cancer control officer of the American Cancer Society. In this role, he is charged with providing oversight and guidance to the organization’s domestic and global cancer control programs, with a focus on access, navigation, and health equity in an effort to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to live a healthy life and receive high quality treatment and support. Dr. Wender leads one of the largest cancer control organizations in the country, with more than 1,000 regionally-deployed staff working in the areas of prevention and early detection, patient and caregiver support, programs and services, global cancer control, and health systems.
Dr. Wender became the Society’s first chief cancer control officer in 2013, but prior to joining the staff, he was a committed volunteer starting in 1985. He provided extensive volunteer leadership at the Society’s state and local levels, and in 2006, was elected volunteer president of the Society, becoming the first primary care physician to serve in this capacity.
Prior to joining the Society, Dr. Wender worked for 34 years as a family physician in the department of family and community medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, most recently as alumni professor and chair. His earlier roles included serving as director of the family medicine residency program from 1985 to 1995 and as vice chair from 1995 to 2002. During Dr. Wender’s tenure, the department developed a global health program and focused on a mission of improving outcomes for all, with a particular focus on reducing health disparities.
Dr. Wender held numerous other leadership positions at Jefferson, including serving as president and chief executive of JeffCare, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s physician-hospital organization, and as president and chief executive of Jefferson Medical Care, a group of hospital-owned primary care and specialty practices.
Dr. Wender has led numerous initiatives designed to improve preventive care and chronic disease management, with a focus on cancer prevention and control. He is a pioneer of the Patient Centered Medical Home, and currently serves as chair of the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable.
He is also a prolific author, with numerous scholarly works, including co-authoring several cancer screening guidelines.
Dr. Wender has been honored numerous times for his leadership in medicine, having been recognized with the Laurel for Cancer Prevention Leadership from the Prevent Cancer Foundation and the St. George Medal from the American Cancer Society.
Dr. Wender’s roots remain grounded in primary care, and he continues to provide primary care to patients. Through advocacy and through constructing lasting partnerships, Dr. Wender remains committed to building bridges between public health, community medicine, and primary care.