Children's Cause Presents Rosen Award to Julia Rowland
The Leonard M. Rosen Memorial Research Award is presented annually at the Children’s Cause Cocktail Reception in New York City. This year, Children’s Cause was proud to present the 3rd Annual Rosen Award to Julia Rowland, PhD, the Senior Strategic Advisor at the Smith Center for Healing the Arts.
Dr. Rowland was formerly the Director of the Office of Cancer Survivorship at the National Cancer Institute, and she is widely recognized as a national and international scholar, researcher and leader in the psychosocial aspects of cancer care broadly and cancer survivorship specifically.
In the 1970s, Dr. Rowland was on the front-lines of early survivorship research in the 1970s at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. In her Rosen Award acceptance speech, she described this time of early survivorship research: “This was incredibly exciting science. The focus was shifting away from how long we could help these children live to look at quality of life and function being as important as length of life. To me, that was the start of cancer survivorship — a movement that caught me and I’ve been hooked ever since.”
Dr. Rowland’s work in the survivorship space continues to this day:
“Currently, I’m in the process of creating a way for treatment centers across the country to do a self-assessment to evaluate their capacity - staff, systems, resource, commitment needed - to provide the [recommended Standards for the Psychosocial Care of Children with Cancer and their Families.]”
As a recipient of the Leonard M. Rosen Memorial Research Award, Dr. Rowland receives $10,000 in recognition and support of her work. In accepting this award, she described how these funds will help support her current endeavors: “I’m hoping to use the Rosen Award funds to conduct demonstration projects at a handful of sites that will examine how this tool can be used to enhance the capacity to deliver high quality care, the ultimate goal being to improve the psycosocial care available and delivered to childhood cancer survivors and their families.”
We were also honored to be joined by Dr. Peter Adamson, Chair of the Children’s Oncology Group, who spoke about the changing landscape of treatment with advances in immunotherapy.
Dr. Adamson shared the story of Emily Whitehead, who was treated for leukemia six years ago by Dr. Adamson’s colleagues at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Emily was the first child to receive T-cell immunotherapy, at age 6 after all traditional treatments had failed. “Emily was the first child to receive this and there were a lot of unknowns,” said Dr. Adamson, describing the ‘cytokine storm’ that saved Emily but also almost killed her.
“Getting through any kind of treatment carries risk and especially for children significant risk,” said Dr. Adamson. “What we’re about to do nationwide - wherever a child may be at one of our 200+ [COG] centers - If we identify a child where we think our [traditional] therapy is going to fail, instead of sending them to transplant [with incredible side effects], we’re going to try to cure them with CAR-T cells, with cellular therapy, and prevent all the side effects of transplant.
We don’t know if we’re going to be successful but we know this is where we need to go. We know this is where we take an advance that began at one center, is now growing at a number of centers, and we bring it to every child with leukemia in the country.”
We thank Dr. Rowland and Dr. Adamson for joining us and sharing their insights into the current landscape of childhood cancer, specifically around survivorship and immunotherapy.
We also thank event co-chairs Susan and Stephen Scherr and Lynn Bayard - and the entire Event Committee - for hosting another successful event. Thank you to Sarah Merians Photography for these beautiful images (see more on Facebook!) and to silent auction donors and Designs that Donate for offering up beautiful merchandise.
Finally, thank you to every donor for so generously supporting our advocacy work in Washington. Your support enables us to be a stronger voice for children with cancer and their families all year long.
“Children’s Cause has been the pioneer in advocacy for children with cancer. In my time leading the Children’s Oncology Group and even before that, the advocacy community in pediatric cancer was quite limited, and we needed Children’s Cause to bring a laser-light focus to what needed to be done but to also help organize advocates from around the country to say how can we be more impactful.
And the reason this is so important now is we need to partner with biotech, we need to partner with pharma, but we need ways that make it viable for these companies to do that: creating incentives, as well as requirements. Caring for the more than half-million children who are now survivors of childhood cancer.
We need advocacy in Washington - on the Hill, we need advocacy at the NIH and increasingly we need advocacy globally. And Children’s Cause is leading these efforts.” - Dr. Adamson, COG Chair