Each year, the Atlanta Business Chronicle formally recognizes exceptional accomplishments in health care with its annual Health-Care Heroes Awards. On May 8, 2009, Dr. Ann Mertens, Director of Clinical Research at the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, was honored as a winner of the 2009 Health-Care Heroes Awards. CURE Childhood Cancer is exceptionally proud of Dr. Mertens and her commitment to support pediatric cancer survivors through the development of a Georgia-wide, population-based initiative that focuses on follow-up health care and cancer survivorship research.
“Through the generous support from CURE, we have been given a grant to enable us to identify all childhood cancer survivors in Georgia and give us a preliminary look at the level of follow-up health care they need and so deserve,” says Dr. Mertens. “Childhood cancer survivors are at an increased risk for a range of adverse long-term outcomes, due to cancer and its aggressive treatment in children, and we want each of them to have access to a post-therapy health plan that includes proper follow-up care as they transition to adults.”
Cited by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as a doctor who shows exemplary performance in her field, Dr. Mertens has studied the late-term effects of childhood cancer for decades and is working to educate the health-care community on cancer survivorship. CURE has awarded Dr. Mertens a grant which will enable her to recruit a Masters level Epidemiologist who will be charged with obtaining all of the data necessary to identify childhood cancer survivors statewide, the first step in establishing this pediatric cancer survivor initiative.
In 2008, Dr. Mertens developed SurvivorLink, an electronic information network for Georgia to support pediatric cancer survivor care. SurvivorLink offers patients and their families access to information regarding health risks associated with the particular type of cancer they had and the treatment they received, and includes recommendations on care going forward. She is hopeful that a research component of SurvivorLink will produce population-based data, which will give researchers more insight into the health issues survivors face.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle “…searched for those health-care professionals who have gone above and beyond to help people,” and received nearly 100 nominations of the best and the brightest in Atlanta’s world-class health care community.
CURE Childhood Cancer warmly congratulates Dr. Ann Mertens for being named a 2009 Health-Care Hero.