National nonprofit Colorectal Cancer Alliance (Alliance) has welcomed Wendy Nickel as its vice president of prevention. Nickel’s primary responsibility is growing and expanding the Alliance’s March Forth prevention initiative, first in Philadelphia and then nationwide, by building partnerships among leading healthcare organizations.
March Forth, an Alliance prevention and screening initiative, is mounting a national effort to attack colorectal cancer by driving up screening rates. Working with partners, families and advocates across the country, the initiative intends to close the screening gap and save 100,000 lives in the next 10 years.
Nickel joins the Alliance from the American College of Physicians, where she led the Center for Patient Partnership in Healthcare and, before that, the Society of Hospital Medicine. In senior leadership roles, Nickel’s work included developing award-winning public health initiatives and health professional campaigns around chronic illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease and, recently, colorectal cancer.
“Wendy has a passion for improving the lives of patients and their families, who are at the heart of everything the Alliance does,” said Michael Sapienza, CEO of the Alliance. “There is no doubt Wendy will move us closer to realizing our vision of a world free of colorectal cancer within our lifetime, starting in Philadelphia.”
At 44 percent, Philadelphia has one of the lowest screening rates of any major city in the United States. Nationally, 50,000 people die each year from colorectal cancer.
“What we want to do in Philadelphia is make inroads on the screening rate, which is far too low,” Nickel said. “Then we want to take the lessons learned there, all the knowledge and best practices, and apply it to other cities around the country. I’m looking forward to seeing the impact of this work on a tangible level.”
“The vast majority of colorectal cancer deaths can be prevented if health systems and payers will work together to increase screening rates,” said Lee Dranikoff, March Forth founding member and board member of the Alliance. “Wendy has the passion and experience to help lead this effort in Philadelphia and across the United States.”
Nickel also worked in leadership roles in quality and patient safety in hospitals and has authored numerous publications on these topics and patient partnership. She currently serves as a liaison to several national organizations, including Patient Family Centered Care Partners and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Nickel earned a master’s degree in public health from Emory University.
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