Jerry J.K. Tillery Will Oversee the Alliance’s Operational Success and Organizational Growth, Advancing its Mission to End the Second Deadliest Cancer
The Colorectal Cancer Alliance (Alliance), the nation’s leading nonprofit dedicated to ending this disease, has announced the addition of Jerry J.K. Tillery to its executive team. Tillery is the Alliance’s first Chief Impact Officer, a role designed to ensure continued success throughout the organization’s programmatic and operational functions as they reach a broader population.
Tillery joins the Alliance with more than 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry. He most recently served as a Division Vice President at the American Red Cross, leading biomedical services operations and managing revenue across ten states and one U.S. territory. Before that, Tillery provided strategic and operational oversight at Wellstar Health System, the largest healthcare system in Georgia, including over its oncology services. Michael Sapienza, CEO of the Alliance, said the organization will benefit from the skillset Tillery has developed throughout his career.
“Jerry’s direct clinical oversight in healthcare settings has given him a deep understanding of health systems and physician practices,” Sapienza said. “That experience is coupled with his background in nonprofit work, where he combined mission-focused activities with the need for fundraising. Jerry’s unique career path and his unwavering dedication to service position him for incredible impact as we harness the power of the communities we serve to end colorectal cancer. We’re thrilled to welcome him to the Alliance.”
Tillery said his first focus is fortifying the Alliance’s foundation for additional growth to achieve its visionary goals, including saving 100,000 lives through screening, reaching 750,000 patients and caregivers annually, and providing $30 million in research funding. Strengthening local relationships with an emphasis on volunteerism, in addition to fundraising opportunities, will also take precedence, Tillery said.
“The work I’ve done at the American Red Cross and in health systems has focused on business development and what we have to do differently to achieve broader reach and greater impact — you can’t hit the repeat button each time,” Tillery said. “Fortunately, the Alliance team is truly committed to the mission, which fosters a sense of purpose and willingness to tackle tough tasks. As we grow, focusing on areas with the most potential for impact will be key.”
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second deadliest and third most common cancer among men and women combined in the U.S., despite being highly preventable with routine screening. A pervasive stigma associated with CRC screening and diagnosis is the primary barrier to ending the disease. Since beginning work at the Alliance, Tillery has noted the challenge in his personal life.
“I have friends who haven't gotten screened simply because they don't want a colonoscopy, even when they're aware of at-home tests,” he said. “This demonstrates the critical need to break down stigmas and talk about this disease more. Another surprise has been the number of people in my circles impacted by this disease, unbeknownst to me.”
To confront the stigma associated with colorectal cancer, the Alliance has launched innovative public awareness initiatives, including LEAD FROM BEHIND with Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, #TheyDidntSay with Charlamagne tha God, and 45+ Reasons, a Philadelphia-based campaign to confront health disparities. Tillery will oversee such campaigns as he heads up marketing and communications, patient and family support, data intelligence and technology, and finance at the Alliance.
ABOUT THE COLORECTAL CANCER ALLIANCE
The Colorectal Cancer Alliance empowers a nation of passionate and determined allies to prevent, treat, and overcome colorectal cancer in their lives and communities. We advocate for prevention, magnify support, and accelerate research to end this disease. Founded in 1999 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Alliance is the largest national nonprofit dedicated to colorectal cancer, and we exist to end this disease in our lifetime. For more information, visit ccalliance.org.
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