Nichols brings her oncology clinical expertise, research experience and pharmaceutical background to LLS, and will work to help find cures for blood cancers and ensure that patients have access to treatments.
Nichols served on LLS’s Medical Advisory Board in 2004. She worked as oncology site head of the Roche Translational Clinical Research Center. Before joining Roche, Nichols was at Columbia University for more than a decade, where she served as director of the Hematologic Malignancies Program.
In her new role, Nichols will be responsible for overseeing LLS’s scientific research portfolio, patient access services, and policy and advocacy initiatives:
Scientific Research Portfolio: The organization has invested over $1 billion in research to advance new treatments, including year, $49.3 million in the past year which has been invested in new multi-year research grants. Nichols will oversee LLS’s research grants program, as well as its Therapy Acceleration Program, a strategic initiative where LLS builds business alliances and collaborations with biotech companies and academic researchers to speed the development of promising therapeutic approaches into clinical trials.
Patient Access Services: Through its Information Resource Center, a toll-free call center, LLS has provided co-pay assistance to more than 73,000 patients with blood cancers. Nichols will also supervise LLS’s support services that connect patients with LLS core services soon after diagnosis; provide ongoing support, education, and access to quality care; and partner with campaign and donor development in revenue-generating activities.
Policy and Advocacy: Nichols will oversee the strategy and implementation of LLS’s growing legislative and regulatory policy initiatives at the state and federal level. She will also supervise the teams leading patient and professional education and patient advocacy and access. LLS has created new regional and chapter-based mission positions to more effectively support patients’ access to the best possible care. With a network of over 100,000 volunteer advocates looking to remove patients’ barriers in accessing care, LLS has helped secure oral parity legislation in 42 states and Washington, D.C., guaranteeing that patients who obtain their cancer drugs from a pharmacy and treated themselves from home receive equal coverage to patients treated in the clinic. LLS also helped in the congressional passage of the 21st Century Cures Act.
“With extensive experience providing care directly to patients and working in the research laboratory to study cancer treatments, Gwen will elevate our ability to lead the charge in advancing cures for blood cancers and improving the lives of patients and their families,” Louis J. DeGennaro, PhD, LLS president and CEO, said in a press release.