Newswise — PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA [April 17, 2024] — The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®)—an alliance of leading cancer centers—is announcing 2024 award recipients that include individuals and groups who have made significant and noteworthy impacts on improving cancer care and supporting NCCN’s mission to help all people with cancer to live better lives.

The 2024 NCCN Award Recipients are:

  • The NCCN COVID-19 Vaccination Advisory Committee
    • NCCN Outstanding Contribution Award
  • Darcie Green, Executive Director, Latinas Contra Cancer
    • NCCN Partners in Cancer Care Award
  • Shaji K. Kumar, MD, Consultant, Division of Hematology, Professor of Medicine, Medical Director, Cancer Center Research Office, Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center
    • NCCN Excellence in Engagement Award
  • Donna Black, Senior Guidelines Administrative Manager, NCCN
    • NCCN Employee of the Year Award

The Outstanding Contribution Award recognizes passion for improving the care of people with cancer and exceeding expectations in service of NCCN’s mission. The NCCN COVID-19 Vaccination Advisory Committee included 36 members from NCCN Member Institutions with expertise in hematology and oncology, infectious disease, and medical ethics. They worked very quickly to provide evidence and consensus-based guidance during a time of uncertainty. Their first meeting was conducted on Jan 11, 2021, and Version 1 of the COVID-19 Vaccination Recommendations was published just 11 days later. Over the next two years, the Committee updated the recommendations seven times as new data became available and new vaccines were approved. The latest recommendations are now included in the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) on Prevention and Treatment of Cancer-Related Infections.

Lindsey Baden, MD, from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Chair of the NCCN Guidelines® Panel for Prevention and Treatment of Cancer-Related Infections accepted the award on behalf of fellow committee co-leads Steven A. Pergam, MD, MPH, from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and Brahm Segal, MD, from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the entire committee.

“The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 four years ago changed the world,” said Dr. Baden. “Our patients were most at risk. The creation of the COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee with broad representation across our communities, allowed us to respond thoughtfully and rapidly to care for our patients and each other in the shadow of rapidly evolving data. The committee is proud of its work in providing aggregated, streamlined, and actionable recommendations for COVID-19 vaccinations in persons with cancer.”

The Partners in Cancer Care Award goes to people outside of NCCN Member Institutions who are instrumental in helping NCCN achieve its mission. As Executive Director of Latinas Contra Cancer, Green oversees efforts to build the capacity of Latino communities to advocate effectively for themselves in healthcare settings. She leads a team of health educators and advocates to provide culturally and linguistically sensitive cancer education, navigation, and survivor support. Through her advocacy, Green has worked relentlessly to eliminate disparities in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. This includes several collaborations with NCCN, such as co-chairing the Health Equity Report Card (HERC) Community Working Group, presenting on webinars for the Alliance for Cancer Care Equity (ACCE), and participating in environmental scans and oncology policy summits.

Green stated: “I would like to express deep gratitude to NCCN not only for this acknowledgement of our work but also for the space NCCN holds for the voice of patients most impacted by race-based health inequities in cancer care and the social inequalities that impact access to and the quality of cancer care. It is an honor to be a part of this network. I look forward to our continuing partnership.”

The Excellence in Engagement Award goes to an NCCN Guidelines Panel Member who exemplifies leadership, drive, and commitment. Dr. Kumar’s leadership as Chair of the NCCN Guidelines Panel for Plasma Cell Neoplasms showcases that and more. He is being honored for his role in significantly expanding the guidelines that he oversees. He is also actively involved with NCCN’s Global Program and Continuing Education Program. Dr. Kumar’s recognition highlighted his dedication, responsiveness, thoughtfulness, and collegiality.

“This is truly an amazing honor, one that belongs to the entire panel,” said Dr. Kumar. “The NCCN role has been a highlight of my career, and I always look forward to the meetings with my friends and colleagues, the in-depth discussions, and the ability to come to a consensus on virtually every issue. The opportunity to make a difference to the patients is at the same time a humbling experience as well as a great honor and privilege. I am very grateful for the constant help and guidance from the amazing NCCN staff, who makes it all possible.”

NCCN Senior Guidelines Administrative Manager, Donna Black, was voted Employee of the Year by her peers. Black serves in a leadership role for the administrative team for the NCCN Guidelines Program. She provides essential support for the NCCN Guidelines, including scheduling panel meetings, coordinating institutional reviews, overseeing submission requests, and much more.

Black said: “I am honored to be selected as the recipient of the Employee of the Year Award. It is a privilege to be a member of the Clinical Information Team that assists clinicians, patients, and caregivers to navigate the cancer care continuum. I am immensely thankful for this recognition, and in turn want to express my appreciation for the dedication and tremendous work of all my team members.”

“We are so grateful for everyone who helps NCCN achieve our mission of improving and facilitating quality, effective, equitable, and accessible cancer care so all patients can live better lives,” said Crystal S. Denlinger, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN. “All of this year’s award recipients have demonstrated incredible leadership, commitment, and dedication in service to people with cancer everywhere. We thank them for everything they do to encourage and uphold the values of NCCN.”

The awards were given out during the NCCN 2024 Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida. Visit to learn more.

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About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) is a not-for-profit alliance of leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education. NCCN is dedicated to improving and facilitating quality, effective, equitable, and accessible cancer care so all patients can live better lives. The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) provide transparent, evidence-based, expert consensus recommendations for cancer treatment, prevention, and supportive services; they are the recognized standard for clinical direction and policy in cancer management and the most thorough and frequently-updated clinical practice guidelines available in any area of medicine. The NCCN Guidelines for Patients® provide expert cancer treatment information to inform and empower patients and caregivers, through support from the NCCN Foundation®. NCCN also advances continuing education, global initiatives, policy, and research collaboration and publication in oncology. Visit for more information.