CARY, NC (November 22, 2022) – The nonprofit CEO Roundtable on Cancer has recognized the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Merck (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada), and Major General Elder Granger for their contributions to cancer research and to eliminating disparities in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

MD Anderson received the 2022 Charles A. Sanders Life Sciences Award at the CEO Roundtable’s Annual Meeting and Conference on Nov. 1. Merck and Dr. Granger each were honored with the Spirit of Health Award.

The Charles A. Sanders Life Sciences Award – The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

“I am humbled and incredibly grateful to accept the Charles A. Sanders Life Sciences Award on behalf of the faculty and staff of MD Anderson,” said Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson Cancer Center. “This award exemplifies the outstanding dedication of our 23,000 MD Anderson team members and honors the patients and communities we serve. Each day, the spirit of teamwork and collaboration drives us as we collectively focus on unlocking the mysteries of cancer, whether through research, patient care, education, or prevention.”

The Sanders Award was established in 2013 to honor Charles A. Sanders, M.D., former Chairman of Glaxo, and Chairman of the Foundation of the National Institutes of Health. The award recognizes “bold and venturesome” innovation and collaboration in clinical oncology research.

Dr. Sanders was the force behind many innovative life-lengthening and life-saving products. He also helped to shape health education and medical research in the United States from his days as chief executive of Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard University.

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is a founding member of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer and has been accredited as a Cancer Gold Standard employer since 2007. Dr. Pisters serves on the Board of the CEO Roundtable. He and key members of his team advise on research projects as well as health and well-being guidelines.

“MD Anderson and Peter Pisters represent the kind of leadership, innovation, collaboration, and patient-centric devotion that this award seeks to recognize and catalyze,” said Bill Louv, CEO of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, who presented the award.

MD Anderson is recognized as one of the world’s most respected centers devoted exclusively to cancer patient care, research, education, and prevention.  As one of the largest cancer centers in the world, it has earned a reputation over more than eight decades of translating the most promising laboratory findings into innovative and effective treatments. MD Anderson has been named one of the top two hospitals in cancer care every year since U.S. News & World Report began its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” rankings in 1990.

The Spirit of Health Award

The Spirit of Health Award was created in 2021 to focus attention on the health of those disproportionately affected by cancer and the difference that one person or company can make through their leadership, vision, passion, and drive to connect people and institutions to eliminate disparities.

The Award recognizes individuals and companies who have worked in extraordinary and tireless ways to elevate communities of health, accelerate Health Equity, bridge the gap of the cancer burden, expand cancer prevention and health education, ensure access to care, and in doing so they have changed the course of lives.


Merck is a founding member of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, a founding partner of the Going for Gold health equity initiative, a Cancer Gold Standard accredited employer since 2018 and a member of the Life Sciences Council, a group of research leaders who advise the Roundtable and its Project Data Sphere program.

“Merck is honored to receive the Spirit of Health Award because advancing health equity is integral to our mission to save and improve lives around the world,” said Dr. Eric H. Rubin, senior vice president, oncology early development, Merck Research Laboratories. “We are committed to doing our part to bridge gaps in cancer care and address health disparities through education, increased access to screening and quality treatment in order to decrease the burden of a cancer diagnosis for more patients.”

As a cornerstone partner in the Going for Gold initiative, Merck shared its expertise in expanding access to care and clinical trials to strengthen program offerings at the Roundtable. The company is closely engaged with programs from health and wellness to research and data analytics, pulling in its experts to support the breadth of work by the Roundtable.

“Merck has always been a leader in commitment and work to improve health for all,” Louv said as he presented the award to Eric H. Rubin, M.D., Merck’s senior vice president, oncology early development. “The company has used well known global programs, such as Merck for Mothers, as a catalyst to tackle other equally urgent health challenges including cancer and for addressing health disparities through our Going for Gold effort, which directly partners with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions to address prevention, screening, diagnosis and access to care.”

Merck is a leader in oncology, working to translate breakthrough science into innovative oncology medicines to help people with cancer worldwide. Merck continues to demonstrate its commitment to patients and population health by increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs, and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to prevent and treat diseases that threaten people and animals – including cancer, infectious diseases such as HIV and Ebola, and emerging animal diseases.

Major General Elder Granger, M.D.

Dr. Granger, also a Board member for the CEO Roundtable on Cancer and an ambassador for the Roundtable’s Going for Gold health equity initiative, was honored for his extensive advocacy on behalf of health in general and the CEO Roundtable on Cancer programs specifically. He has an extensive track record of building coalitions to advance health, combat cancer and eliminate health disparities.

“I am humbled, honored, and grateful for this recognition,” said Dr. Granger, President and CEO of the 5Ps, LLC, a health care, education, and leadership consulting organization in Colorado. “Chronic disease is the leading driver of healthcare cost in the United States, with over $3.5 trillion annually. The most effective way to avoid, treat, and mitigate chronic conditions is through proactive preventive services. Going for Gold is a model example of prevention.”

Prior to his retirement from the US Army in 2009, Dr. Granger served as the Deputy Director and Program Executive Officer of the TRICARE Management Activity, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) in Washington, DC. In that role, he was the principal advisor on health plan policy and performance at the Department of Defense.

Dr. Granger oversaw the acquisition, operation, and integration of TRICARE/DOD’s managed care program within the Military Health System, leading a staff of 1,800 in planning, budgeting, and executing a $22.5 Billion Defense Health Program. 

Prior to joining TRICARE Management Activity, Dr. Granger led the largest U.S. and multi-national battlefield health system in recent history while serving as Commander, Task Force 44th Medical Command and Command Surgeon for the Multinational Corps Iraq. He has led at every level of the Army Medical Department, with previous assignments across the United States, Europe, and Iraq. 

“For Dr. Granger, it is always about the patient and helping them, not about publicity or benefit to individuals,” Louv said. “His entire life reflects work to serve others, something he has done at the highest levels as well as on a personal basis.”

About the CEO Roundtable on Cancer

The CEO Roundtable on Cancer was founded in 2001, when former President George H.W. Bush challenged a group of executives to “do something bold and venturesome about cancer within your own corporate families.” The CEOs responded by creating and encouraging the widespread adoption of the CEO Cancer Gold Standard™ which calls for organizations to evaluate their health benefits and workplace culture and take extensive, concrete actions in five key areas of health and wellness to address cancer in the workplace. For more information on the CEO Cancer Gold Standard and the no-cost, web-based accreditation process, please visit

Share This: