(Press Release, Dec. 6, 2021) The American Cancer Society (ACS) has hired Dr. Arif Kamal as its first Chief Patient Officer to lead its patient support vision and strategic plans to improve the lives of cancer patients and their families. Arif Kamal, MD, MBA, MHS, FACP, FAAHPM, FASCO, will lead ACS's first single, coordinated unit to accelerate progress against cancer through its patient-facing activities. His scope encompasses cancer control, patient navigation, educational programs, patient lodging solutions, transportation services and all aspects of ACS functions that touch patients across 5,000 communities. He will begin the new ACS position on February 1.
Kamal joins ACS from Duke University and the Duke Cancer Institute, where he has served for more than 12 years as an oncologist, researcher and innovative leader. He is currently an Associate Professor of Medicine and Population Health at the Duke University School of Medicine and recently served as the Physician Quality and Outcomes Officer at the Duke Cancer Institute. He is a nationally recognized expert in oncology quality assessment and palliative care, which aims to provide relief from symptoms and stress associated with a serious illness like cancer at diagnosis, during and after treatment, and at the end-of life. Kamal will maintain a small palliative care clinical practice at Duke Cancer Center to remain connected the needs of patients and caregivers that ACS serves.
"Throughout his career, Dr. Kamal has held a passion for aligning patients to the most appropriate care plans, based on both medical need and goals of care preferences," said Karen E. Knudsen, MBA, PhD, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. "He also has an entrepreneurial streak, with both a medical and a business background. This unique combination makes Dr. Kamal a perfect fit for leading our patient support program."
Kamal also holds several leadership positions in other organizations, including with the National Quality Forum (NQF), American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM). He was also selected as one the Top Influential Leaders Under 40 from AAHPM and received an Innovator Award from the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC). Kamal has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles in journals such as JAMA, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Annals of Internal Medicine and Lancet Oncology. He holds grant funding from the National Cancer Institute, National Institute on Aging, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation. He also co-founded Prepped Health, a company that develops innovative technology solutions to educate and engage patients and caregivers facing a serious illness like cancer.
Kamal received his medical degree from the six-year combined BA/MD program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, completed his Internal Medicine residency and a Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, as well as a hematology/oncology fellowship at Duke University. He holds a Masters in Health Science in Clinical Research from Duke University and a Master in Business Administration from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst.
Kamal resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where the office of the Chief Patient Officer will be located.