CDC Foundation Aims to Improve Cancer Outcomes Through New Initiative Aimed at Education and Empowerment

This World Cancer Day, the CDC Foundation announced a multi-year initiative to improve cancer outcomes with a new health empowerment program. Led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the CDC Foundation, EmPOWERed Health is focused on empowering and equipping individuals to become their own health champions. The program will also provide tools and resources that will spark better physician-patient communication and improve shared decision-making.

“Research reveals that people who take an active role in their health have a greater feeling of control, are more likely to adopt positive health behaviors and experience better health outcomes,” said Lisa Richardson, MD, MPH, and director of CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. “This is especially important when trying to prevent or manage a serious condition like cancer. Empowerment can result in more people getting cancer screenings, a greater feeling of control during cancer diagnosis and treatment, and a better care plan for cancer survivors.”

Health empowerment has never been more important. The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly tough for individuals going through cancer, with delayed appointments resulting in heightened anxiety. Cancer screening rates have also declined significantly—screening appointments for breast, cervical, and colon cancers in March 2020 decreased between 86 percent and 94 percent compared with average volumes in the prior three years, according to a study by the medical record company Epic.

“It’s critically important we empower individuals to return to care, especially people of color and lower income populations who are disproportionately affected by cancer,” said Judy Monroe, MD, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “EmPOWERed Health is a unique initiative that will catalyze individuals to become their own health champions.”

This program, with financial support from Amgen, will seek input and involvement from individuals from all backgrounds: members of the general public and oncology community, including people with cancer, their care partners, cancer survivors and healthcare providers. Others involved in this effort will include unexpected partners, like technology, entertainment and social media influencers. Kicking EmPOWERed Health off in March, the CDC Foundation will host a virtual hackathon that leverages open innovation to create bold approaches that can educate, raise awareness and trigger positive action.

“At Amgen, we are committed to improving cancer outcomes for all patients, including those impacted by healthcare inequity. There is good evidence that empowerment and shared-decision making can have a significant impact,” said Darryl Sleep, MD chief medical officer at Amgen, “EmPOWERed Health is an opportunity to build and launch innovation that can improve cancer care, and we are excited to grow our long-standing relationship with CDC and the CDC Foundation with this new initiative.”

Both healthcare providers and individuals have a role to play in empowerment, and the program will develop tools for both groups. “As both an oncologist and a cancer survivor, I have been a part of both sides of the cancer experience,” said Liz O’ Riordan, oncologist and breast cancer survivor. “Speaking as a clinician, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of treating your patient as an equal partner in healthcare decision making. As a patient, having the information and confidence to express your opinion makes you feel more in control and able to cope with a challenging situation.”

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About the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) works 24/7 to protect America from health and safety threats. Whether these threats are global or domestic, chronic or acute, curable or preventable, natural disaster or deliberate attack, CDC is the nation’s health protection agency.


About Amgen

Amgen is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing and delivering innovative human therapeutics. This approach begins by using tools like advanced human genetics to unravel the complexities of disease and understand the fundamentals of human biology. Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people's lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to be one of the world's leading independent biotechnology companies, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential. For more information, visit and follow us on