Distinguished Achievement Award Bestowed to Dr. David Khayat for Transforming Cancer Care in France
|David Khayat, MD, PhD
At a closed reception on Friday, ASCO honored a leader in oncology who has changed the way cancer is fought in France while raising awareness and mentoring others in the future of oncology care.
David Khayat, MD, PhD, of Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, received the 2011 Distinguished Achievement Award in recognition of his clinical and research work and his role in promoting oncology care in his home country.
The award salutes an individual who has proven to be as an outstanding leader and mentor in science, practice, or research in any subspecialty of oncology, and whose efforts have benefited ASCO members or their patients.
Created in 2009, this award honors individuals who strive to not only treat patients with cancer but also to train and mentor the next generation of oncologists. Dr. Khayat was honored to receive this award and recognition from ASCO in a closed ceremony Friday night.
“I am proud of this award; it means recognition by the international community and people I respect who have contributed so much to the processes we are using today when we treat our patients,” he told ASCO Daily News. “We are working hard to make France a leading country in the fight against cancer.”
An International Leader in the Fight Against Cancer
Dr. Khayat has been instrumental in transforming cancer care in France and advising other nations seeking to improve the care of patients with cancer. He was a Co-Founder of the World Summit Against Cancer in 2000, an event at which more than 100 international political, corporate, and nonprofit organization leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the global eradication of cancer by signing the Charter of Paris Against Cancer. Numerous signing countries went on to develop their own national cancer plans, for which many sought out Dr. Khayat as an advisor.
“The Charter is something I am extremely proud of in my career. Through the Charter, I learned how to set up national cancer plans and integrate measures dealing with screening and organization of care,” he said.
In addition to advising countries such as Tunisia, Morocco, and Uzbekistan, Dr. Khayat was appointed by former President Jacques Chirac to lead the development of the French National Cancer Control Plan in 2003. The plan includes 70 resolutions that address prevention, screening, organization of care, research, training, and support. One measure involved establishment of a national cancer institute, for which Dr. Khayat served as president.
The plan has led to amazing progress in cancer care throughout the country. One notable accomplishment, Dr. Khayat said, is the development of a national screening program for breast and colorectal cancer. Screenings are paid for by the government, and results are evaluated and published every year.
Keeping Patient Rights at the Heart of His Work
Although his national responsibilities required time away from the bedside, Dr. Khayat is a staunch defender of the rights of patients and has made patient-centered care a focus of his work. He is Head of the Department of Medical Oncology at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, where he focuses on developing new agents for breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, and melanoma.
His laboratory is one of few centers in France fully equipped and heavily involved in the evaluation of new drugs and targeted therapies. The hospital’s cancer center is one of the largest in France and treats thousands of patients, offering them access to new therapies through clinical research.
Through his experience caring for patients, Dr. Khayat has spent another part of his career speaking directly to patients, not as a doctor but as an author. He has published novels, a play, and screenplays dealing with cancer care.
“All of my literature is focused on trying to explain the issues of cancer care and the right for patients to participate in care and decide their course of treatment,” he said. “The way we fight cancer in our country has changed over the past 15 to 20 years, and I use everyday language and stories to help explain this to the public.”
Supporting the Next Generation
Early in his career at Pitié-Salpêtrière, Dr. Khayat had the opportunity to work under some of the leading oncologists of the time, including Claude Jacquillat, MD. In turn, Dr. Khayat has been involved in many efforts to develop the next generation of oncologists and share advancements in oncology around the world.
He established the Master of Excellence in Medicine in Oncology, a teaching program to increase the skills and knowledge of young oncologists in France and foster the future opinion leaders that will move French oncology into the future. In addition, he formed the French Federation of Medical Oncologists, a sister organization of ASCO, to bring together professionals throughout the country.
Within ASCO, Dr. Khayat serves as Deputy Editor of International Editions for the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO). He has been a driving force in spreading the cutting-edge science published in JCO around the world. “I am in charge of the international editions of JCO,” he said. “We started with only the Spanish edition and now have 17 editions published regularly.”
ASCO has meant a great deal to him throughout his career, Dr. Khayat noted, serving to develop his skills and a vast network of colleagues.