NEW YORK, March 24, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) and PBS LearningMedia announced today The EMPEROR Science Award Program, an initiative that will encourage students from disadvantaged high schools to pursue careers in science, with a particular emphasis on cancer research through a year of mentorship with a scientist from a leading research institution or industry. The education initiative, announced this morning by SU2C co-founder Katie Couric at Columbia University, is being launched in connection with Ken Burns Presents CANCER: THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES a Film by Barak Goodman, a three-part film on the history of cancer that will air on PBS Monday, March 30, Tuesday, March 31 and Wednesday, April 1.
"When we launched this documentary effort in 2013, Siddhartha Mukherjee told us that even with all the exciting developments in cancer research, we will not beat cancer in the long run if we don't engage new generations of young people to enter the field of science, particularly cancer research," said SU2C Co-Founder Sherry Lansing who lead the committee which conceived and implemented this plan. "No doubt, the documentary will spark an interest in science among some of the young people who watch it and this science award was designed to nurture that interest, and perhaps convert it into more students pursuing research as a profession."
"As we learn in CANCER: THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES, our most effective weapons in the war against cancer are bright minds and people who are passionately committed to finding a cure," said Alicia Levi, VP of Education, PBS. "To find the next Sidney Farber or Mary-Claire King, we need to make sure that all students have an opportunity to pursue their scientific ambitions."
Applications will be available in August 2015 for the program on PBS LearningMedia's website at pbslearningmedia.org. Students may apply for awards or may be nominated by teachers. The first 100 Awardees, high school students from Title I, or similarly "economically disadvantaged" schools, who will receive one-on-one science mentoring over the course of a year or an intensive summer schedule, as well as $1,500 grants, will be announced in late 2015. Students will be connected with science mentors from a host of high-profile medical research centers, from among more than 100 SU2C-affiliated institutions as well as universities and industry leaders in cancer diagnosis and treatment.
The students will be provided with electronic tablets to enhance their studies and to extend the reach of mentors of major research institutions for students in rural and suburban communities.
The first 300 EMPEROR Science Awards have been fully funded over three years. The inaugural one hundred EMPEROR Science Awards have been generously donated by the first documentary supporter, Genentech. Another 100 EMPEROR Science Awards are supported by a grant from documentary supporter Bristol-Myers Squibb. Also supporting 100 Science Awards is a donation from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. These awards will be known as EMPEROR Genentech Science Awards; EMPEROR Bristol-Myers Squibb Science Awards; and EMPEROR Novartis Science Awards, respectively.
Leading researchers are already committing to serving as mentors. Students will be matched with Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee (author, The Emperor of All Maladies); American Cancer Society Chief Medical Officer Otis W. Brawley, M.D., F.A.C.P.; Bristol-Myers Squibb Vice President, US Medical – Oncology Joseph Leveque, M.D.; researchers from Stony Brook Cancer Center; and ten scientists from Siemens Corporation.
This initiative was organized by the EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES Education Subcommittee, chaired by Sherry Lansing, SU2C co-founder, chairperson of the Entertainment Industry Foundation's Board of Directors and founder of the Sherry Lansing Foundation. Other advisory members include the creative team behind CANCER: THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES, including Ken Burns (executive producer); Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee (author); Barak Goodman (producer/director); and Pam Williams (executive producer; president, Laura Ziskin Pictures; SU2C Council of Founders & Advisors), and documentary production supporters. Additional committee members include:
Entertainment Industry Foundation / Stand Up To Cancer
Lisa Paulsen, EIF Chief Executive Officer; SU2C Co-Founder
Kathleen Lobb, EIF Senior Vice President, Communications; SU2C Co-Founder
Sung Poblete, Ph.D., R.N., SU2C President and Chief Executive Officer
Tom Chiodo, EIF Senior Vice President, Business Development
Dalton Delan, Executive Vice President and Chief Programming Officer
Elaine Laughlin, Vice President, Foundation and Government Development (Also representing David H. Koch, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Kovler Fund and The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations)
Anne Harrington, Vice President, Interactive Media and National Engagement
Alicia Levi, Vice President, Education
Shiva Malek, Ph.D., Associate Director, Discovery Oncology
Kristin Campbell-Reed, Director, Corporate and Employee Giving
Joseph Leveque, M.D., Vice President, US Medical – Oncology
Jessica Cairns, PharmD, Head of Oncology Strategy & Operations
Cancer Treatment Centers of America
Chris Hamrick, Director, Corporate Communications
Camille Johnston, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs
Dave Fisher, Vice President, Healthcare Policy and Strategy
American Association for Cancer Research
Margaret Foti, Ph.D., M.D., Chief Executive Officer
Rick Buck, Senior Director, Communications and Public Relations
American Cancer Society
Otis W. Brawley, M.D., F.A.C.P., Chief Medical Officer
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Lee Greenberger, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer
Nancy Hallberg, Chief Marketing Officer
Eric T. Rosenthal, MedPage Today Special Correspondent
PBS LearningMedia, a free media on-demand service from PBS and WGBH for educators and students, will serve as the program administrator and outreach partner for the awards with the support of local PBS stations. The service will also offer a variety of supporting resources for students including clips from the film, on a wide range of cancer-related topics like how the disease spreads throughout the body and advancements in treatments options, plus profiles of scientists and lab technicians that work to battle the disease every day. In the coming months, information about the Emperor Science Awards will be found on www.cancerfilms.org and www.su2c.org. Resources are available today on pbslearningmedia.org.
In addition to the Emperor Science Awards for high school students, the documentary CANCER: THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES creates a wealth of material to engage and excite students in all grade levels. WETA and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will create a curriculum based on the film to reach all students grades K -12 that will be shared with teachers in schools throughout the country.
CANCER: THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES tells the comprehensive story of cancer, from its first description in an ancient Egyptian scroll to the gleaming laboratories of modern research institutions. At six hours, the film interweaves a sweeping historical narrative with intimate stories about contemporary patients, and an investigation into the latest scientific breakthroughs that may have brought us, at long last, within sight of lasting cures.
The film project CANCER: THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES began in 2010. Hollywood producer Laura Ziskin (Pretty Women, Spider-Man), a Stand Up To Cancer co-founder, had wanted to produce a documentary about cancer from the time she had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. Having read an advanced review of the book, Ziskin quickly contacted Dr. Mukherjee, who awarded the rights to the Entertainment Industry Foundation on behalf of SU2C in December 2010. Simultaneously, WETA president and CEO Sharon Percy Rockefeller read the book during her treatment for cancer at The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center in Baltimore. Shortly thereafter, Rockefeller connected with Burns, who lost his mother to cancer when he was 11. The two connected with Ziskin, and in early 2011 brought on filmmaker Goodman. (Ziskin, who lived with cancer for seven years, died in June 2011.)
Also part of the documentary project, WETA has launched CancerFilms.org, an expansive website with social and interactive media components created in conjunction with the documentary. The project website features an innovative short film series executive produced by Ken Burns and created by Redglass Pictures, featuring individual cancer patients and caregivers. Additional films will be released in the weeks leading up to the March 30 broadcast premiere.
Participants can share their stories now at CancerFilms.org, engage with the project on Twitter via @CancerFilm or #CancerFilm, and visit the project on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CancerFilm.
Ken Burns Presents Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies A Film by Barak Goodman is made possible by project supporters Genentech, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Siemens, David H. Koch, Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Kovler Fund, The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the American Association for Cancer Research, the American Cancer Society, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS.
About Stand Up To Cancer
Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, was established in 2008 by film and media leaders who utilize the industry's resources to engage the public in supporting a new, collaborative model of cancer research, and to increase awareness about progress being made in the fight against the disease. SU2C raises funds to accelerate the pace of research that will get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now.
Current members of the SU2C Council of Founders and Advisors (CFA) include journalist and well-known cancer advocate Katie Couric; Sherry Lansing, chairperson of the Entertainment Industry Foundation's Board of Directors and founder of the Sherry Lansing Foundation; EIF President and CEO Lisa Paulsen; EIF senior vice president Kathleen Lobb; Rusty Robertson and Sue Schwartz of the Robertson Schwartz Agency; Pamela Oas Williams, president of Laura Ziskin Productions and executive producer of Stand Up To Cancer's in-house production team; and non-profit executive Ellen Ziffren. The late co-founder Laura Ziskin executive produced SU2C's 2008 and 2010 "roadblock" televised fundraising specials, and all current members of the CFA were co-producers of the 2012 and 2014 shows. Sung Poblete, Ph.D., R.N., has served as SU2C's president and CEO since 2011. More information is available at www.standup2cancer.org.
About PBS LearningMedia
As America's largest classroom, PBS offers digital content and services for teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS LearningMedia, a partnership of PBS and WGBH Educational Foundation, is a free and paid media-on-demand service offering educators access to the best of public media and delivers research-based, classroom-ready digital learning experiences to engage students in exploring curriculum concepts that align with National and Common Core State Standards. Nationwide, more than 1.6 million teachers and users have registered access to more than 100,000 digital resources available through PBS LearningMedia. More information about PBS LearningMedia is available at www.pbslearningmedia.org or by following PBS LearningMedia on Twitter and Facebook.
Founded more than 35 years ago, Genentech is a leading biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines to treat patients with serious or life-threatening medical conditions. The company, a member of the Roche Group, has headquarters in South San Francisco, California. For additional information about the company, please visit http://www.gene.com.
About Bristol-Myers Squibb
Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information, please visit http://www.bms.com or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/bmsnews.
About Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care and cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2014, the Group achieved net sales of USD 58 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.9 billion (USD 9.6 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges). As of December 31, 2014 Novartis Group companies employed approximately 133,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are available in more than 180 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.
SOURCE Stand Up To Cancer