Each fall, the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program® hosts its annual Action for Cancer Awareness Awards Luncheon. Since 1993, the awards luncheon recognizes the activities of Congressional spouses, Members of Congress, the press and community advocates for their outstanding work to educate the public about cancer prevention and early detection and their work to improve access to cancer-related prevention and treatment services. This signature event brings together Members of Congress; Congressional, Supreme Court and Diplomatic spouses; members of the scientific and medical community; and business and industry representatives in the cancer advocacy community to celebrate advancement in cancer prevention and early detection, highlighting the work of those making a difference. This year’s event honored U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, actor/producer and founder of the Dempsey Center Patrick Dempsey, and congressional spouses LeeAnn Johnson of Ohio and Amanda Soto of Florida. Read more about the 27th Annual Action for Cancer Awareness Awards luncheon.
The Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program is a bipartisan effort to increase the public’s understanding of cancer prevention and early detection. Families of Senate, House, Cabinet, Supreme Court and the Diplomatic Corps are invited to work within their respective constituencies to educate the public. The Congressional Families Program offers educational events, materials and resources to equip its members to bring the message of cancer prevention and early detection back to their communities.
The Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program is a bipartisan network of spouses of members of the House, Senate, Administration, Supreme Court and the Diplomatic Community who share an interest in advancing cancer prevention, early detection and education.
The initiative began as a partnership between the Prevent Cancer Foundation, a national organization focused on cancer prevention through scientific research and education and the Congressional Club. The Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program has an Executive Council and Advisory Board that include over 200 spouses.
Launched in 1991, the program’s initial efforts focused on the areas of breast and prostate cancer. The success of the program’s first five years led to the expansion of its scope to add more preventable cancers: lung, skin, colorectal, cervical, testicular and oral cancer. The program offers spouses and family members (including Members of Congress) talking points, op-eds, letters to the editor, speeches, videos and many more program ideas and communication tools to use in their districts and beyond. With these tools, the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention program can take a broader healthy living, cancer prevention and early detection message to communities all across America and around the globe.
Below are just a few of the many efforts members have participated in to increase cancer prevent and early detection awareness including:
Nationwide, Congressional Families works toward a collective goal: to help saves lives through cancer prevention and early detection. Our vision is to Stop Cancer Before It Starts!
Lisa Murray McGovern has served as Executive Director of the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program since 2003. The bipartisan program’s mission is to use the visibility afforded to Congressional, Administration, Supreme Court and Diplomatic spouses to carry the message of cancer prevention to communities and states throughout the country. More than 150 Congressional spouses participate in the program which is part of the Prevent Cancer Foundation, a non-profit organization.
Prior to joining Congressional Families, Lisa served as Deputy Director of Congressional Affairs at the General Services Administration from 1995-2001 during the Clinton Administration. In 1995, she was named as an alternate member of the President’s Interagency Council on Women.
From 1984 through 1995, Lisa was on personal staff in the office of Congressman Gerry Studds of Massachusetts and subsequently joined the staff of the Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee on which Mr. Studds sat and later chaired.
In 1989, Lisa married Jim McGovern of Worcester, Massachusetts. Jim was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1996. The McGoverns have a son, Patrick George, and a daughter, Molly Ginette.
Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program
Executive Council 2019
The Honorable Debbie Dingell
Lorena Saenz Gonzalez
Deborah Malumed, M.D.
The Honorable Marie Royce
Betty Ann Tanner
The Honorable Doris Matsui (Democratic Congresswoman from California)
Caroline McMillan (former Republican Member, South Carolina)
Edward T. Allard III
M. Priyasri Bala, M.D.
Janine Bera, M.D.
Karmen Walker Brown*
Myrna E. Cardin
Evelyn Chinea- Garcia
Emily E. Clyburn
Catherine “Smitty” Connolly
Deserai Crow, Ph.D.
Maya Rockeymoore Cummings
Shannon R. Davis
Steven Davis, M.D.
Vera G. Davis
Myrnie Daut DeFazio
Lacey Schwartz Delgado
Rep. Debbie Dingell*
Leah Ott Dunn
Lee Ann Edwards**
Brenda M. Fleischmann*
Lorena Saenz Gonzalez*
Mereda Davis Johnson
Lauren Birchfield Kennedy
Wayne Kye, D.D.S.*
Marcia Sloan Latta
Delores B. Lawson
Barbara Morris Lent**
Betty Lieu, Esq.
Lino S. Lipinsky
Deborah Malumed, M.D.*
Gayle C. Manchin
Susan Blumenthal Markey, M.D.
Rep. Doris Matsui
Carrie McIntyre Panetta
Colleen Ochoa Peters
Sarah Bloom Raskin
Hon. Marie Royce*
Sara R. Smith
Betty Ann Tanner**
London J. Thompson
Jill Cooper Udall
Katherine Van Hollen
Margaret Cheney Welch
*Executive Committee member
The Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program offers a variety of informational events, resources and materials. The Program invites its members to work within their respective constituencies to educate the public about the message of healthy living, cancer prevention and early detection. Congressional Families’ two cornerstones of the program are the annual Action for Cancer Awareness Luncheon and Educational Events along with numerous other opportunities to get involved, educate and impact each members’ communities.
Each fall, the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program hosts its annual Action for Cancer Awareness Awards Luncheon. This event recognizes the activities of Congressional spouses, Members of Congress, the press and community advocates for their outstanding work to educate the public about cancer prevention and early detection.
The Program regularly hosts seminars and events, bringing together members, health professionals and medical experts; creating dialogue and equipping members with tools to bring the message of cancer prevention and detection back to their communities.
Submit Op-eds to Your Local Paper and Post on Social Media
Congressional Families offers members monthly templates for op-eds to publish in your local paper. We also send sample social media posts on a weekly basis to educate your constituents about cancer prevention and related topics.
Share Your Ideas
Some of our best ideas come from you! If you have an idea or an event you would like to share please contact Lisa McGovern.
Each fall, Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program hosts its annual Action for Cancer Awareness Awards Luncheon. Since 1993, the awards luncheon recognizes the activities of Congressional spouses, Members of Congress, the press and community advocates for their outstanding work to educate the public about cancer prevention and early detection and their work to improve access to cancer-related prevention and treatment services.
This signature event brings together Members of Congress; Congressional, Supreme Court and Diplomatic spouses; members of the scientific and medical community; and business and industry representatives in the cancer advocacy community to celebrate advancement in cancer prevention and early detection, highlighting the work of those making a difference.
Awards are presented in the following categories:
Congressional Families Leadership Award
This award honors a spouse or Congressional family member who makes a noted contribution in the field of cancer awareness. The nominee’s work should illustrate the use of his/her/their platform to engage attention to the education of the public about a cancer and the importance of early detection and prevention, mortality and incidence.
Distinguished Service in Journalism
The media is a powerful tool in the education of the public about cancer. This award honors a renowned journalist (print, television, radio, internet) who has made a significant and responsible contribution though his/her work to educate the need for cancer prevention, advances in cancer research and through recognition of current affairs in the realm of the cancer community and the public at large (e.g., mapping of the genome, mammography standards, promising discoveries at the bench).
Excellence in Cancer Awareness
We are fortunate in our country to have many great corporate leaders, athletes and other high profile citizens who are dedicated public servants. This nominee should reflect a commitment to cancer prevention and early detection through a special campaign or event, influencing public policy, improving access to screening and treatment and encouraging healthy lifestyle choices.
LeeAnn Johnson, spouse of Rep. Bill Johnson (Ohio)
Amanda Soto, spouse of Rep. Darren Soto (Fla.)
Patrick Dempsey, actor/producer and founder of the Dempsey Center
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Helen Green, spouse of Rep. Gene Green (Texas)
Kasey Crowley, spouse of Rep. Joe Crowley (N.Y.)
Norah O’Donnell, “CBS This Morning”
Phil Kessel, NHL Hockey Player for the Pittsburgh Penguins
Watch highlights from the 2018 luncheon as featured on the Pittsburgh Penguins “In the Room” (Begins at 17:25)
Sarah Hospodor-Pallone, spouse of Rep. Frank Pallone (N.J.)
Marie Royce, spouse of Rep. Edward Royce (Calif.)
Laurie McGinley, health/medical reporter for The Washington Post
Sun Bum® and Protect The Groms®
Patricia Mica, spouse of former Rep. John Mica (Fla.)
Summer Sanders, Olympic champion and television host
Amy Robach, news anchor, ABC’s “Good Morning America”
2016 Luncheon highlights video:
Franki Roberts, spouse of Rep. Pat Roberts (Kan.)
Sharon Percy Rockefeller, President and Chief Executive Officer, WETA
Siddhartha Mukherjee, M.D, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Columbia University
Sandra Lee, Chef, author and television personality
Linda Bachus, spouse of Rep. Spencer Bachus (Ala.)
Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC News Chief Medical Editor
CVS Health, accepted by Dr. Andrew Sussman President, MinuteClinic and SVP/Associate Chief Medical Officer, CVS Health
Landra Reid, spouse of Sen. Harry Reid (Nev.)
Andrea Mitchel, NBC News and Host, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports
Shannon Miller, Olympian
Healthy Base Initiative, Department of Defense (Special Recognition)
2013 Luncheon highlights videos:
Lisa McGovern – Introduction to the 2013 Awards Luncheon
Carolyn Aldigé – Introduction to the Prevent Cancer Foundation
Jennifer Griffin – Her Story and Awards Introduction
Landra Reid – Congressional Families Leadership Award
Andrea Mitchell – Distinguished Service in Journalism Award
Shannon Miller – Excellence in Cancer Awareness
Healthy Base Initiative – Special Recognition
Marcelle Leahy, spouse of Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.)
Barbara Morris-Lent, spouse of the late Rep. Norman Lent (N.Y.)
Jennifer Griffin, national security correspondent, (FOX News Channel)
Dara Torres, Olympian
Ellen Noghès, spouse, H.E. the former Ambassador of Monaco (Special Recognition)
Freda Manzullo, spouse of Rep. Don Manzullo (Ill.)
Erin Andrews, ESPN Game Day
Steve Andrews, seven-time Emmy Award-winning broadcast journalist
Former Congressman Mike Castle, Del., Special Recognition
Congresswoman Lois Capps (Calif.)
Liz’s Legacy, University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Eppley Cancer Center
Sam Champion, weather anchor, “Good Morning America” (ABC)
Chef José Andrés, winner of the James Beard Outstanding Chef Award in 2011
Betty Ann Tanner, spouse of former Congressman John Tanner (Tenn.)
Kelly Corrigan, author and journalist
Scott Hamilton, Olympian
Suzie Dicks, spouse of former Congressman Norm Dicks (Wash.)
Diana Enzi, spouse of Senator Mike Enzi (Wyo.)
Robin Roberts, co-anchor, “Good Morning America” (ABC)
Former Congresswoman Deborah Pryce (Ohio)
Barbara Grassley, spouse of Senator Charles Grassley (Iowa)
Barbara Johnson, spouse of Senator Tim Johnson (S.D.)
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Chief Medical Correspondent (CNN)
Phil Gordon and Rafe Furst, Founders, Bad Beat on Cancer
Elizabeth Edwards, spouse of former Senator John Edwards (N.C.)
Joel Siegel, film critic, “Good Morning America” (ABC)
Wendy Chioji, news anchor, WESH, Orlando (Fla.)
Dr. Arvin S. Glicksman, Rhode Island Cancer Council
Cecile Tauzin, spouse of former Congressman Billy Tauzin (La.)
Deirdre Imus, author and environmentalist
Karyn Green, news anchor, WXIA 11, Atlanta (Ga.)
Lance Armstrong and Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope (Special Recognition)
Linda Dooley, spouse of former Congressman Cal Dooley (Calif.)
The Weather Channel
Mayor Thomas Menino, Boston (Mass.)
Former Congresswoman Sue Myrick (N.C.)
Priscilla Dewey Houghton, spouse of former Congressman Amo Houghton (N.Y.)
Cokie Roberts, news anchor (ABC)
The SHADE Foundation – Curt and Shonda Schilling Melanoma Foundation of America and The SunWise School Program of the United States Environmental Protection Agency
Barbara Bush, former First Lady
Ann Curry, co-anchor, “Today Show” (NBC)
Susan Love, MD, author and advocate
Barbara Everett, spouse of former Congressman Terry Everett (Ala.)
Melissa Thomas, director, Breast, Education, Screening and Treatment (BEST) program (Ohio)
Leslie Mouton, news anchor, KSAT-TV, San Antonio (Texas)
Tamra Bentsen, spouse of former Congressman Ken Bentsen (Texas)
Jill Biden, spouse of Vice President Joseph Biden
Ruth Ann LaMott and Barbara Raehl, Navigator Program, Munson Medical Center (Mich.)
Shirley Ruedy, health columnist, Cedar Rapids Gazette (Iowa)
Former Senator Connie Mack (Fla.) (Lifetime Achievement Award)
Former Congressman John Porter (Ill.) (Lifetime Achievement Award)
Debbie Dingell, spouse of Congressman John Dingell (Mich.)
Katie Couric, co-anchor, “Today Show” (NBC)
Dick Hirsh, MD, founder, Radiology Mammography International
Sam Donaldson, news anchor (ABC)
Mary Jane Fate, advocate, state of Alaska
Nancy Murkowski, spouse of Senator Frank Murkowski (Ala.)
Sue Ann Thompson, Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation/spouse of Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson
Former Senator Connie Mack and Mrs. Pricilla Mack (Fla.)
Andrea Roane, news anchor and reporter, WUSA 9 News; and the Women of Channel 9
General H. Norman Schwarzkopf
John Mack Carter, journalist
Dolores Beilenson, spouse of former Congressman Anthony Beilenson (Calif.)
Susan Ford Bales, daughter of President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford
Dr. Elmer Huerta, director, Cancer Preventorium, Washington Cancer Institute
Jane Seymour, actress and advocate
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Supreme Court Justice
Paula Zahn, co-anchor, “CBS This Morning”
Harry Smith, co-anchor, “CBS This Morning”
Phyllis Newman, actress and advocate
Former Senator Bob Dole (Kan.)
Congresswoman Doris Matsui, founder of Congressional Families Action for Cancer Awareness program, spouse of Congressman Bob Matsui (Calif.)
Congressional Families regularly hosts seminars and webinars, bringing together members, health professionals and medical experts; creating dialogue and equipping members with tools to bring the message of cancer prevention and detection back to their communities.
Please check back later.
“Too Young for This Sh*t: The Rise of Early-Onset Colorectal Cancer” Webcast, April 22, 2019
On April 22, Congressional Families hosted a live webcast at the National Association of Broadcasters to address the issue of rising rates of colorectal cancer in adults under 50. Read more and watch the webcast.
“What your zip code says about your health,” April 19, 2018
On April 19, the Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program hosted a webcast at the National Association of Broadcasters to discuss how where you live affects your health, with a focus on cancer and cancer prevention. Read more about this discussion and watch the webcast.
“Check Your Mate” seminar, February 15, 2018
Congressional Families hosted a seminar on February 15 to educate Congressional spouses about the importance of “checking your mate” for early signs of cancer and pre-cancer. Read more.
“How to reach out in YOUR district or state seminar,” October 4, 2017
On October 4, 2017, Congressional spouses gathered to share how to effectively use the tools and materials Congressional Families provides back in their districts. Read more.
Think About the Link® on Capitol Hill, June 29, 2017
Every year, thousands of men and women lose their lives to cervical cancer, liver cancer and other cancers caused by viruses. Read more.
Breast Health Education for Young Women seminar, June 13, 2017
Congressional spouses gathered on May 24 to learn how to engage with young women in their home districts on breast health education with the help of the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Breast Health Education for Young Women: Facilitator’s Guide. Read more about this seminar.
Harnessing the power of social media, March 29, 2017
On March 29, Tammy Gordon, founder of Verified Strategy, a digital strategy and marketing firm, led a seminar on Harnessing the Power of Social Media for congressional spouses. Read more.
Cancer Prevention Leaders Honored at the 24th Annual Congressional Families Awards Luncheon, September 29, 2016
The Program’s signature event recognizes leaders in cancer prevention, bringing together a bipartisan group of supporters
Mindfulness, Meditation and Disease Prevention, June 15, 2016
A discussion at the U.S. Capitol about the role meditation and mindfulness play in disease prevention, stress reduction and healthy living
Hazards and Allure of Indoor Tanning Beds Briefing, May 20, 2015
A panel discussion about the dangers of indoor tanning beds and their accessibility to college students. Read more.
Lifestyle Matters Seminar, March 25, 2015
Dr. Nelson role delves into how lifestyle factors, such as a healthy diet, exercise, social support, and the environment play in reducing one’s risk for cancer. Read more.
2014 Annual Action for Cancer Awareness Awards Luncheon, September 18, 2014
At the 22nd annual awards luncheon cancer advocates were honored for their leadership in prevention. Read more.
2013 Annual Action for Cancer Awareness Awards Luncheon, November 19, 2013
The 21st annual signature event for the Congressional Families Program honored advocates for highlighting cancer prevention. Read more.
Women’s Cancers: New Science, New Activism, September 19, 2013
Actress, actor, and activist Fran Drescher joins with scientists to explore impacts of environmental risks on women’s cancers. Read more and watch event video.
Prevent Cancer Super Colon Visits Worcester, Mass., August 17, 2013
Over 400 visited the Prevent Cancer Super Colon at the 23rd Annual Latin American Festival in Worcester, Massachusetts. Read more.
Hive on the Hill: Queen Bee Trunk Show, August 1, 2013
The Queen Bee trunk show offered a one day sale on all Queen Bee creations, generously donating a portion of the proceeds to the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Read more.
Healthy Strategies for Children and Families
June 18, 2013 – Webcast
(Thank you to the National Association of Broadcasters for making this webcast possible).
Your Family Medical History: Why and What You Should Know
May 1, 2013 – Webcast
(Thank you to the National Association of Broadcasters for making this webcast possible).
Healthy Base Initiative Briefing, March 12, 2013
Representatives from the Department of Defense came to Capitol Hill to brief congressional spouses on the Healthy Base Initiative, a program the military is piloting to implement healthy habits among personnel. Read more.
Congressional Families helps congressional spouses organize, attend, highlight or connect with cancer-related events and organizations in their home districts. If you are interested in working with us on an activity in your district, email Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Executive Council member LeeAnn Johnson hosts Cancer Prevention Day
November 2, 2019
Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program® Executive Council member LeeAnn Johnson (spouse of Rep. Bill Johnson, Ohio), in collaboration with Memorial Health System and the Congressional Families Program®, hosted a Cancer Prevention, Early Detection & Wellness Day in Marietta, Ohio. The public event featured a Q&A discussion with medical experts and Congressional Families Executive Director Lisa McGovern, cancer screenings, wellness demonstrations and walk-through inflatable organs.
Bipartisan spouses visit McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital November 9, 2018
Congressional Families Executive Director Lisa McGovern, Colleen Ochoa Peters (spouse of Sen. Gary Peters, D-MI), Cindy Bergman (spouse of Rep. Jack Bergman, R-MI), along with Ellen Noghès (spouse of former Ambassador of Monaco to the U.S. Gilles Noghès) visited McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital, which is supported by a Prevent Cancer Foundation community grant.
Publish an Op-ed in Your Community
Many spouses promote cancer awareness in their communities by publishing an op-ed in their local state papers. An op-ed is a piece published under your name in your local paper; this is an effective way to educate your community.
Congressional Families offers monthly op-ed templates on coordinating national cancer awareness months. If you would like to publish an op-ed in your local paper please email or call Lisa McGovern or Cassie Smith (703) 837-3697 for a copy of this month’s template.
See an example of an op-ed published by spouse Barbara Grassley in her state newspaper.
Connect on Social Media
Congressional Families sends sample social media posts on a weekly basis coinciding with cancer awareness observances and other related events. This is a great way to connect with your constituents to spread education about cancer prevention. If you would like to receive these social media posts, please email Lisa McGovern or Cassie Smith.
Each spring and fall, Congressional Families sends out Actions, its bi-annual print newsletter. Click on the links to see a digital version of the newsletter and catch up with Congressional Families.