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Members of the Field of Investigation of Cancer office, U.S. Public Health Service, in the summer of 1937. This group of individuals—which included several AACR members and three future AACR Presidents— became the first staff of the newly established National Cancer Institute. Left to right: medical director Floyd C. Turner, Joseph Stasio, Joseph Leiter, Jonathan L. Hartwell, Walter Gately, Adrian Perrault, Henry L. Meyer, Francis Linnell, John J. Murphy, Rose Robin (Rose Miner), Roger O'Gara, William McEleney, Theresa Shovelton, Howard B. Andervont (AACR President 1955-1956), Catherine V. Porter, Murray J. Shear (AACR President 1960-1961), Harold L. Stewart (AACR President 1958-1959), Thomas White, and Egon Lorenz. [Document Reference Section, National Cancer Institute.]

Membership by the Numbers

Members of the AACR Minorities in Cancer Research (MICR) Council with the recipients of the 2017 AACR Minority Scholar in Cancer Research Awards and the 2017 AACR Minority and Minority-serving Institution Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research Awards. MICR Council Members (front row, left to right): Beverly D. Lyn-Cook, PhD; Chairperson-Elect Designate Laura Fejerman, PhD; Past Chairperson Rick A. Kittles, PhD; Sanya A. Springfield, PhD; Kimlin Tam Ashing, PhD; John H. Stewart IV, MD; Chairperson John M. Carethers, MD. Second row, far left: Chairperson-Elect Brian M. Rivers, PhD.

Soon after establishing the AACR on May 11, 1907, the 11 founders inducted 23 Charter Members and 10 Charter Associate members. These 33 physicians and scientists were the first AACR members to commit themselves to the organization’s charter mission of “further[ing] the investigation and spread[ing] the knowledge of cancer.”

As the AACR has evolved over the course of 110 years, the organization’s mission statement has also evolved. Today, the organization strives to “prevent and cure cancer through research, education, communication, and collaboration.” The membership has grown from those 33 charter members to the more than 40,000 scientists, clinicians, and other health care professionals who advance the AACR’s mission by pursuing groundbreaking discoveries every day. From all sectors of the cancer community—and from across the spectrum of cancer science—the AACR membership is the catalyst for cancer prevention and cures.

Members by Category

Active Members: Established laboratory researchers, physician-scientists, clinicians, and population scientists

Associate Members: Young laboratory scientists and physicians-in-training (graduate students, medical students and residents, and clinical and postdoctoral fellows)

Student Members: Undergraduate and high school students

Emeritus Members: Active members who have reached the age of 70 years

Affiliate Members: Other health care professionals (practicing oncologists, nurses, laboratory technicians, non-scientific corporate professionals, and patient advocates)

New members joined the AACR in 2017.

Nobel Laureates have been members of the AACR.

Individuals have been AACR members for more than 25 years.

Individuals have been AACR members for more than 50 years.

Countries are represented by AACR members.

AACR members are younger than 30 years of age (12% of all members).

AACR members are older than 70 years of age (7% of all members).

U.S. States with the Most AACR Members



New York



Non-U.S. Countries with the Most AACR Members



Republic of Korea



Note: Totals may not equal 100% due to rounding.

Members by Location

Members by Race/Ethnicity

Members by Gender

Members by Work Setting

AACR Membership: Diversifying the Cancer Workforce

Early-career scientists network with senior investigators—including 2017 Charlotte Friend Lecturer Anne-Lise Børresen-Dale, PhD, MD (right)—during roundtable discussions at the AACR Women in Cancer Research Career Mentoring Session, held during the AACR Annual Meeting 2017.

Diversity in scientific inquiry is critical to the prevention and cure of cancer, as advances in cancer treatment and care depend upon an increasing understanding and application of basic, translational, clinical, and epidemiological science. Diversity in the cancer research workforce is also critical to the AACR’s mission. To ensure that its membership reflects the patients that it serves, the AACR identifies, trains, and mentors talented scientists from populations that are underrepresented in the scientific community.

Associate Member Council
(AMC; 2017 Chair: Kenneth Dutton-Regester, PhD)

AMC serves as the leadership body for AACR associate members, which consists of graduate students, medical students and residents, and clinical and postdoctoral fellows. The council develops programs that address the particular needs of early-career scientists.

  • Recognizing the vital role of advocacy in securing the future of the cancer workforce, AMC members led a delegation of 15 Associate Members to Washington in March for the second annual AACR Early-Career Investigator Hill Day. In meetings with 39 congressional offices over the course of a single day, these Associate Members thanked Members of Congress for funding the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot and asked them to provide sustained and predictable funding increases for the NIH going forward. The in-person meetings were accompanied by an online National Day of Action campaign that encouraged early-career investigators around the country to contact their representatives and urge them to make federal funding for cancer and biomedical research a national priority.
  • One of the greatest challenges to the maintenance of a robust cancer workforce is ensuring that early-career scientists have sufficient financial and professional support to remain in the field until they can transition to a secure position. While the AACR addresses this challenge through career development grants, the Council took the initiative to garner support for those programs, working with the AACR Foundation to launch its inaugural #KeepEmResearching fundraising campaign. From May through July, the campaign used social media and email outreach to raise approximately $15,000 to benefit early-career scientists.
  • The financial challenges that early-career scientists face often prevent them from initiating or maintaining their AACR membership, depriving this cohort of mentorship and support at a critical juncture of their careers. In November, the AACR Board of Directors took an important step toward maintaining the career arc of young investigators by voting to eliminate member dues for Associate Members beginning in 2018—ensuring that the benefits of AACR membership are available to those who are most in need of them.

Minorities in Cancer Research
(MICR; 2017 Council Chair: John M. Carethers, MD)

MICR is a membership group within the AACR committed to preventing and curing cancer while meeting the professional needs and advancing the careers of minority scientists.

  • In November, the AACR hosted its Tenth Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved in Atlanta, Georgia. Since its founding in 2007, the conference—held in association with the MICR Council—aims to identify, understand, and ultimately eliminate disparities in cancer incidence and care. In addition to presenting the latest in research in the field, the 2017 conference showcased the impact of ten years of disparities research with an evening celebration titled “Advancing the Science of Cancer Health Disparities: A Decade of Progress.” The celebration included two special presentations:
    • Sanya A. Springfield, PhD, Director of the National Cancer Institute Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities, was recognized for her longstanding commitment to reducing the disproportionate burden of cancer through research.
    • Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman whose cancer cells were the source of the HeLa cell line, was honored for her posthumous contributions to biomedical research and cancer science. Ms. Lacks’ grandsons, David Lacks, Jr. (near right), and Alfred Lacks Carter, Jr. (right center), attended the celebration and accepted the honor on her behalf.
  • As part of their commitment to diversifying the cancer workforce, the AACR and MICR established the Minority and Minority-Serving Institution Faculty Scholar in Cancer Research Awards in 1997. These awards enable full-time underrepresented minority faculty members and full-time faculty members of Minority-serving Institutions to attend and participate in AACR Annual Meetings and Special Conferences. At the 2017 Annual Meeting, MICR celebrated the 20th anniversary of the awards, which has supported the participation of more than 350 talented minority faculty members in AACR scientific programs.

Women in Cancer Research
(WICR; 2017 Council Chair: Judith S. Sebolt-Leopold, PhD)

WICR is a membership group within the AACR committed to recognizing women's scientific achievements and fostering their career development and advancement in cancer research.

  • In April, at the 2017 Annual Meeting, WICR celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Charlotte Friend Memorial Lectureship. Named for Charlotte Friend, PhD—the first female full professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, an AACR Past President (1975-1976), and a pioneer in virology who discovered the Friend leukemia virus—the lecture highlights an outstanding investigator who has made meritorious contributions to the field of cancer research and who has, through leadership or by example, furthered the advancement of women in science. The 20th anniversary lecture was delivered by Anne-Lise Børresen-Dale, PhD, MD (center right), of Oslo University Hospital Institute for Cancer Research.
  • In 2017, WICR presented two Professional Advancement Sessions to support the career development of women investigators. A Career Mentoring Session was held at the special conference on Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy in October. The session featured a keynote address by conference chair Miriam Merad, MD, PhD, and was moderated by Annual Meeting 2017 program chair Kornelia Polyak, MD, PhD. Later that month, at the AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics, AACR CEO Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), delivered the keynote address at a session titled “Driving your Career Forward: Being Brave, Getting a Rhino Skin, Surviving Super Crazy Busy, and Achieving a Work Life Balance That Works.”