HASTINGS — A Morrison Cancer Center oncologist recently received recognition by the world’s leading professional organization for cancer physicians and oncology professionals.

Dr. M. Sitki Copur, Morrison Cancer Center Medical Director and Adjunct Professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, was named an Advocacy Champion by the Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) during the 2023 Advocacy Summit in Washington, D.C.

While in Washington, D.C., Dr. Copur met with U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, co-leader of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and some Nebraska and Iowa congressional representatives.

Advocacy Champions are ASCO volunteers who have made meaningful contributions to ASCO’s advocacy activities throughout the year to ensure that every patient with cancer has access to high-quality, high-value cancer care, no matter who they are or where they live. Advocates speak with federal lawmakers and agencies, send personalized letters to members of Congress through ASCO’s ACT Network, engage with state lawmakers on policy priorities at the state level, and host site visits for lawmakers in their home states and districts.

“ASCO’s advocacy efforts and successes would not be possible without the tireless work of our Advocacy Champions,” said Jason Westin, MD, FACP, chair of ASCO’s Government Relations Committee. “You can see their influence through the advancement of key legislation that provides robust federal funding for cancer research, avoids Medicare reimbursement cuts, streamlines prior authorization, and increased access to clinical trials. While the work isn’t done, we can trust that our advocates will remain dedicated in their pursuit of legislation that supports delivery of high-quality and equitable cancer care.”

Throughout the past year, Dr. Copur has taken an active role in endorsing several important legislative advocacy activities and urging lawmakers to take action on Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act (HR3173/ S3018), the Telehealth Modernization Act (HR1332/S368), the CONNECT for Health Act (HR2903/S1512), the DIVERSE Trials Act (HR5030/S2706) and research funding for the NIH and NCI for fiscal year 2013.

Dr. Copur also is working with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and Nebraska Medical Association (NMA) on several other important advocacy activities including correcting Medicare Advantage Organizations’ Prior Authorization requirements, and more.