Stuart Siegel with Heidi Adams, CEO of Critical Mass, and Lauren Berger from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which sponsored the award.

Stuart Siegel with Heidi Adams, CEO of Critical Mass, and Lauren Berger from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which sponsored the award.

Professor Stuart Siegel, MD, of the Keck School of Medicine of USC was recently awarded the Archie Bleyer AYA Trailblazer Award by Critical Mass, a leading organization supporting the cause of adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer.

Siegel’s involvement in the AYA movement has been long and productive. In the 1980s, he championed the development of a program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles called Teen Impact, which was one of the nation’s first support group-based programs focusing on the needs of AYAs and their families.

A professor of pediatrics and medicine at the Keck School of Medicine and the director of the Center for Global Health at CHLA, Siegel is also the founding director of the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases and the Center for International Health at CHLA. In addition, he serves as co-medical director of the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Program at USC (AYA@USC).

“Dr. Siegel has been a trailblazer and loyal supporter for more than a decade, defining standards of clinical care delivery for [AYA] patients, translating them at a local level, and communicating them nationally and internationally,” wrote one of his colleagues in nominating Siegel for the AYA Trailblazer Award.

Another nominator wrote: “He thinks big, moves swiftly, and gets a lot accomplished … seemingly effortlessly and with a big smile on his face.”

Siegel has long pushed to develop new talent to support and benefit the field, and he has helped develop innovative AYA oncology training programs for fellows and medical students. He was instrumental in the 2006 formation of the LIVESTRONG Young Adult Alliance (which later was renamed Critical Mass), and the organization’s announcement of the award noted that he has “worked tirelessly to develop standards for AYA oncology care and expand formal education in AYA oncology, as evidenced by his leadership on seminal position papers in these areas.”

The award is named for Archie Bleyer, MD, another AYA advocate whose academic career spans four decades, during which he has worked at NCI, the University of Washington, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The award was made possible through funding by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Siegel is the second recipient of the award, following Bleyer. It was created to honor the individual who has the most impact in the field during a particular year.

Siegel’s selection was based on national online voting by Critical Mass members, with the final choice made by Critical Mass leaders. The formal presentation of the award took place Nov. 4 during the annual Critical Mass conference in Chicago.

David R. Freyer, DO, MS, professor of clinical pediatrics at the Keck School, first shared the good news about the award in an email to colleagues in September.

Freyer wrote, in part, that the “choice of Stu for this award truly reflects the broad impact he has had nationally on so many individuals and the field itself through influencing development of studies, publishing of key data, disseminating important findings, creation of care standards, and advancing public policy — all in addition to the transformational AYA-focused work we know he has carried out over the course of many years leading to AYA@USC.”

by Les Dunseith