Newswise — Robert Winn, MD, director of VCU Massey Cancer Center, has been elected by the members of the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) to serve as vice president/president-elect of AACI’s board of directors.

Dr. Winn’s new position is effective immediately. AACI’s current president, Caryn Lerman, PhD, director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, assumed leadership of the association in June following the departure of Karen E. Knudsen, PhD, who stepped down to become chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society.

Marcia Cruz-Correa, MD, PhD; Ruben Mesa, MD, FACP; and Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, have been elected as new board members, and Joann Sweasy, PhD, has been appointed to fill the remainder of Dr. Winn’s term as a regular board member (through October 2023). Drs. Cruz-Correa, Mesa, and Vonderheide will replace outgoing board members Leon Platanias, MD; Randall Holcombe, MD, MBA; and Tom Loughran, MD.

Dr. Winn is chair of the 2021 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting Program Committee. He was appointed to lead the VCU Massey Cancer Center in 2019. He previously served as director of the University of Illinois Cancer Center (2015–2019), following 13 years at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and School of Medicine in a variety of leadership roles and clinical faculty appointments. Dr. Winn is committed to community-engaged research centered on eliminating health disparities. He is a principal investigator on several community-based projects funded by the National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Cruz-Correa is the executive director of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) Comprehensive Cancer Center and leads the center’s Gastrointestinal Oncology Research Program. She is a professor of medicine at the UPR, adjunct associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, and adjunct professor of surgical oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Cruz-Correa is the lead investigator of the Hispanic Alliance for Clinical & Translational Research.

Dr. Mesa is the executive director of the NCI-designated Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he is the Mays Family Foundation Distinguished University Presidential Chair. Dr. Mesa had previously served as the chair of Hematology & Medical Oncology at Mayo Clinic, Arizona, and deputy director of the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Mesa’s research focuses on the development of new therapies for myeloproliferative neoplasms.

Dr. Vonderheide is director of the Abramson Cancer Center (ACC) and the John H. Glick, MD Abramson Cancer Center’s Director Professor in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He is vice dean of cancer programs at the Perelman School of Medicine and vice president for cancer programs at the University of Pennsylvania Health System. He successfully led the competitive renewal of the ACC CCSG grant in 2020 with a score of “Exceptional.”

Dr. Sweasy was appointed director of the University of Arizona Cancer Center (UACC) in 2020. She is the inaugural holder of the Nancy C. and Craig M. Berge Endowed Chair for the Director of the UACC and was recruited from Yale Cancer Center where she served as a member of the faculty for 26 years. Dr. Sweasy has been continuously funded by NCI since 1994 and in 2016 was awarded the Environmental Mutagenesis and Genomics Society Award and is currently president-elect of this society.

Drs. Cruz-Correa, Mesa, Vonderheide, and Sweasy will work closely with other AACI leaders to support the organization’s mission of accelerating progress against cancer.


AACI’s mission is to accelerate progress against cancer by enhancing the impact of North America’s leading academic cancer centers. For more information, please visit