ASCO Annual Meeting

ASCO Annual Meeting


Press Release

June 06, 2021
3 min read

ASCO announces award recipients


Press Release

You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact

Several researchers and global oncology leaders received ASCO’s Special Awards, the society’s highest honors.

“The recipients of this year’s Special Awards have made exceptional contributions to the oncology community,” Monica Bertagnolli, MD, FACS, FASCO, past president of ASCO and chair of the Joint Special Awards Selection Committee, said in a society-issued press release. “It is our honor to recognize their commitment to transforming cancer care and improving quality of life for people living with cancer.”

The following honorees will be recognized during this year’s virtual ASCO Annual Meeting:

Photo of Maura Gillison
Maura L. Gillison

Maura L. Gillison, MD, PhD, received the David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award and Lecture, which recognizes an oncologist who made outstanding contributions to cancer research, diagnosis or treatment. Gillison is distinguished professor of medicine and a Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas scholar in cancer research at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Arul M. Chinnaiyan MD, PhD, received the Science of Oncology Award and Lecture, which recognizes outstanding contributions to basic or translational research in cancer. Chinnaiyan is S.P. Hicks endowed professor of pathology and a professor of urology at University of Michigan Medical School.

Joseph A. Sparano

•  Joseph A. Sparano, MD, FACP, received the Gianni Bonadonna Breast Cancer Award and Lecture, which recognizes an active clinical or translational researcher with a distinguished record of accomplishments in advancing the field of breast cancer and with exceptional mentoring abilities. Sparano is associate director for clinical research at Albert Einstein Cancer Center, associate chairman in the department of oncology at Montefiore Medical Center, and professor of medicine and professor of obstetrics, gynecology and women's health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Banu Arun
Banu Arun

Banu Arun, MD, FASCO, received the ASCO-American Cancer Society Award and Lecture, which recognizes significant contributions to cancer prevention and control research or practice. Arun is professor in the department of breast medical oncology, co-medical director of the clinical cancer genetics program, and section chief of breast genetics, prevention and screening at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Daniel F. Hayes

Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FASCO, FACP, received the Allen S. Lichter Visionary Leader Award and Lecture, which recognizes members who have transformed the oncology field or significantly advanced the mission of ASCO, Conquer Cancer Foundation or CancerLinQ through leadership, vision and ability to inspire. Hayes is Stuart B. Padnos professor of breast cancer research at University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center.

Emil J. Freireich, MD, received the Distinguished Achievement Award, which recognizes leadership or mentorship in any subspecialty of oncology that has benefited members or their patients. Freireich, who died in February, developed groundbreaking therapies for childhood leukemia. He served on the faculty at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center for 50 years.

Crystal L. Mackall, MD
Crystal L. Mackall

Crystal L. Mackall, MD, received the Pediatric Oncology Award and Lecture, which recognizes a pediatric oncologist who has demonstrated outstanding leadership or achievement in the field. Mackall is Ernest and Amelia Gallo family professor of pediatrics and medicine at Stanford University.

Cesare Gridelli, MD, received the B.J. Kennedy Award and Lecture for Scientific Excellence in Geriatric Oncology, which recognizes members who made outstanding contributions to the research, diagnosis and treatment of cancer among older individuals, and in bringing an understanding of geriatric oncology to fellows and junior faculty. Gridelli is division chief of medical oncology at S.G. Moscati Hospital in Avellino, Italy.

Photo of Sonali Smith
Sonali M. Smith

Sonali M. Smith, MD, FASCO, received the Excellence in Teaching Award, which recognizes, encourages and rewards individuals who have had a demonstrable impact on their trainees and who have inspired or shaped the trainee’s practice of cancer medicine. Smith is Elwood V. Jensen professor of medicine, section chief of hematology/oncology, co-leader of the cancer service line and director of the lymphoma program in The University of Chicago’s department of medicine.

Benjamin W. Corn, MD, FASTRO, received the Humanitarian Award, which recognizes an oncologist who personifies ASCO’s mission and values by going above and beyond to provide outstanding patient care through innovative means or exceptional service or leadership. Corn is professor of oncology at Hebrew University School of Medicine and deputy director of Shaare Zedek Cancer Center in Israel.

Tracy A. Balboni, MD, MPH, FAAHPM, received the Walther Cancer Foundation Palliative and Supportive Care in Oncology Endowed Award and Lecture, which recognizes an individual with multiple significant and enduring contributions to palliative and supportive care in oncology. Balboni is professor of radiation oncology at Harvard Medical School, program director of the Harvard radiation oncology program, and clinical director of the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s supportive and palliative radiation oncology service.

•  Danielle Hicks, chief patient officer at GO2 Foundation for Lung Cancer, received the Partners in Progress Award. The award recognizes a person involved in patient advocacy activities that impact public awareness about cancer, or activities that result in additional support either legislatively or fiscally for cancer research, treatment or prevention.