American Cancer Society Honors Atrium Health With Its Inaugural Health System Of The Year Award

National recognition celebrates health system for efforts to elevate quality of life for cancer patients


CHARLOTTE, N.C (News Release) – Atrium Health has received the American Cancer Society (ACS) Health System/Patient Support Team of the Year award, a national honor presented for the many successful efforts Atrium Health has implemented to improve the lives of cancer patients and their families.

The award recognizes Atrium Health for exemplary, holistic cancer care, which includes Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute bringing advanced techniques to fight cancer across the Southeast, applying for early detection programs, and focusing on strategies to enhance the quality of life for patients.

“This recognition acknowledges the extraordinary expertise and dedication of our entire cancer care team at Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute and Atrium Health Levine Children’s that is focused on providing the best care for our patients,” said Dr. Derek Raghavan, president of Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute. “Our patients are at the center of everything we do and this award highlights our commitment to them and their families.”

The ACS based the award on a variety of criteria, including Atrium Health’s care, counsel, and service to cancer patients and their families throughout the continuum of care (prevention, early detection, quality of life), with a strong focus on reducing cancer disparities and advancing health equity. It also signifies Atrium Health’s deep and meaningful partnership with the ACS that encourages the development and execution of initiatives to help improve every facet of a cancer patient’s journey, as well as supporting cancer patients and their families of all ages.

A major focus of that partnership is improving access to cancer screenings that can identify patients with early-stage disease. Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute has been a leader in preventative cancer screenings and improving
rates of early detection, thanks in part to their efforts that enable uninsured women to have mammograms at nine safety net clinics through the unique Project Pink initiative. In 2017, Levine Cancer Institute became the first organization in the world to develop a mobile lung screening unit, which brings no-cost lung cancer screenings to rural parts of North Carolina.

“We are honored to partner with Atrium Health in our mission to end cancer. Their staff has truly integrated the American Cancer Society’s mission into their work in providing care for cancer patients,” said Megan Wessel, vice president, cancer support for the American Cancer Society. “Atrium Health’s partnership with ACS encompasses every dimension of our mission and runs the entire cancer continuum. Their care and commitment truly make them stand out and be deserving of this inaugural national recognition as ACS’s Health System of the Year. Their partnership has allowed us to have a tremendous impact on cancer screening and prevention, quality of life, and health equity for all people in the Greater Charlotte area.”

Atrium Health also partnered with the ACS in a quality improvement project across all Atrium Health Levine Children’s pediatric clinics to achieve an increase in HPV vaccination rates in 2021. Additional efforts between Atrium Health and the ACS led to a new initiative that broadens colorectal cancer screenings, smoking cessation classes, and the implementation of physical activity in various community events. Teammates from across Atrium Health have worked with the ACS to reduce barriers to cancer care by providing lodging and transportation to patients in need. They are also working to impact policies and decisions made by lawmakers that will directly improve care for patients. Atrium Health has continuously supported the American Cancer Society financially through community fundraising and volunteerism, as well as advocacy efforts.

“We applaud the work of the American Cancer Society to make life better for all cancer patients and their families, including the under-served populations,” said Raghavan. “We are pleased to partner with them on so many important initiatives and believe that equity in survival for all our patients is moving in the right direction thanks to the collaboration between our two organizations.”

A committee comprised of national ACS leaders and volunteers took part in the selection process for the award.