[Press release on Mary Lasker's appointment to the National Advisory Cancer Council]
Lasker was a member of the National Advisory Cancer Council from 1954 to 1970, for many years the only female member. Advisory
boards approve NIH grants to researchers in academia, non-profit foundations, and industry--which make up the largest share
of the NIH budget--and in this way influence the direction of biomedical research. Lasker had successfully lobbied for a
legal provision making half the members of advisory boards laymen.
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2 (117,393 Bytes)
1954-09 (September 1954)
National Cancer Institute (U.S.)
Original Repository: Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Mary Lasker Papers
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Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Health Planning Councils
Letter from James F. Kieley to Mary Lasker (September 2, 1954)
Mrs. Albert Lasker, who has actively aided the progress of medical research through the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation,
has been appointed a member of the National Advisory Cancer Council, Surgeon General Leonard A. Scheele of the Public Health
Service, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, announced today.
As a member of the National Advisory Cancer council, Mrs. Lasker will advise and make recommendations to the Surgeon General
regarding program activities of the National Cancer Institute. This is one of the seven divisions of the National Institutes
of Health, main research arm of the Public Health Service. Mrs. Lasker will serve a 4-year term, beginning October 1, 1954.
The Council, established by Act of Congress in 1937, reviews applications for research projects relating to the study of the
cause, prevention, or methods of diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Upon recommendations of the Council, the Surgeon General
awards grant-in-aid to scientists and institutions whose projects show promise of making valuable contributions to the knowledge
of cancer. Under the law, the Surgeon General cannot make any grants unless they have been recommended for approval by the
Six of the 12 members of the Council are leaders in the field of science, ad six are leaders in education and public affairs.
In addition, there are two ex-officio members representing the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense. The
Council meets three times a year at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, adjacent to Washington, D. C.
With her husband, the late Albert D. Lasker, Mrs. Lasker established, in 1942, the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, which
gives the Lasker Awards through various health agencies for contributions to psychiatric and medical research and administration
, and physical rehabilitation and to medical journalism.
Mrs. Lasker is a member of the board of the Medical Center for Cancer and Allied Diseases, New York City. Her wide interest
and activities in the field of health and medicine include a 4-year term as a member of the National Advisory Heart Council
of the National Institutes of Health. She also serves as a trustee of the Menninger Foundation, Topeka, Kansas, and the Institute
for Psychoanalysis, Chicago; as a member of the Board of the American Cancer Society and the Health Insurance Plan of Greater
New York; and an honorary Vice-President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and a member of the New York City
Board of Hospitals.
Her present civic activities include memberships on the board of the Park Association of New York City and the Museum of Modern
Mrs. Lasker was born in Watertown, Wisconsin, and received an A.B. degree, cum laude, from Radcliffe College and honorary
degrees from the University of Wisconsin, The University of Southern California and Bard College. She lives at 29 Beekman
Place, New York City.