“I am opposed to cancer and heart attacks the way I am opposed to sin.” With that as her battlecry, the petite, well-coiffed socialite rewrote the book on American medical research. Crusade to Heal America: The Remarkable Life of Mary Lasker paints the never-before-told story of a woman who was savvy, steely, and deliberate, with a goal of eliminating human suffering. While scientists looked at disease as a problem to be solved, Lasker saw it as a beast to be slain.
Fusing elements of American history, New York high society, and shrewd political acumen, Judith L. Pearson’s Crusade to Heal America is a sparkling work of narrative nonfiction. As the feisty and fearless “fairy god-mother of medical research,” who positioned, herself at the crossroads of politics, science and society, Mary Lasker’s story amply provides the lesson that courage and perseverance will always win the day.
Dr. Rowland will interview Judy not only about the book itself, but also the research and writing journey that created it. And there’s no need to read the book ahead of time to enjoy the conversation. But if you do have one, Judy will send you an autographed book plate as a thank you.
Judy Pearson is a best-selling author and award-winning author, an accomplished presenter, and a cancer survivor. But her favorite title is “story teller.” All of her books feature individuals who went beyond the ordinary to change the lives of those around them. Honored in Washington, DC, by the American Association of Cancer Research and featured in their National Cancer Research Progress Report, Judy was named one of Chicago’s Most Inspirational Women, a finalist for the Arizona Healthcare Leadership Awards and named a Phoenix Healthcare Hero.
Julia Rowland, PhD, who joined Smith Center in October 2017, comes to this position as a long-time clinician, researcher and teacher in the area of psychosocial aspects of cancer. She has worked with and conducted competitively funded research among both pediatric and adult cancer survivors and their families, and published broadly in psycho-oncology, including co-editing, along with Dr. Jimmie Holland, the ground-breaking text, Handbook of Psychooncology. She has also been a frequent speaker on cancer survivorship, or life after cancer, for both professional and lay audiences.
Julia received her PhD in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in psychosocial oncology. While at MSKCC, where she held joint appointments in pediatrics and neurology, Julia helped to develop and was the first Director of the Post-Treatment Resource Program, one of the first non-medical survivorship care programs to be offered by a major cancer center in the U.S. In 1990 she moved with her husband and two young children to Washington, DC to become founding Director of the Psycho-Oncology Program at Georgetown University and the Lombardi Cancer Center. There she helped expand services to meet the psychosocial needs of cancer patients and families, launched some of the first quality of life clinical trials, and also introduced a program to enable first year medical students to learn the art of caring for those living through and beyond cancer from survivors themselves and Lombardi faculty. Nine years later, in September of 1999, she was recruited to the National Cancer Institute to become the first, full-time Director of the Office of Cancer Survivorship, a position in which she served for 18 years, championing the growth of survivorship research and care, before stepping down in September 2017 to assume her new role at Smith Center. Although new to the team, Julia is no stranger to Smith Center. She knew Smith Center’s founder, Barbara Smith Coleman, and has volunteered her expertise across the years as a speaker, group leader and staff member for both the 1-day and weeklong residential retreats. Julia brings to her new role a passion to translate what research has taught us about healing in the context of cancer to the broader community, in essence, taking the science of survivorship from the lab bench to the park bench.
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