The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky has named Jamie Ennis Bloyd, who has worked at both the state and national level to advance research and policies for childhood cancer prevention, treatment and recovery, as the latest Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion.
Bloyd, of Lexington, is president of the Kentucky Pediatric Cancer Research Trust Fund and the Kentucky Pediatric Cancer Foundation, as well as national director of government relations and external affairs for the American Childhood Cancer Organization. She is also the mother of three children, including a son who has survived stage 4 Burkitt’s Lymphoma.
“Jamie’s efforts have led to improvements in the Kentucky Cancer Action Plan, wide dissemination of information about childhood cancer in Kentucky, funding for childhood cancer research to address Kentucky’s high burden and also to federal funding for pediatric and adult cancer research,” said Eric Durbin, director of the Kentucky Cancer Registry, in a foundation news release.
Bloyd speaks across the country about the importance of including childhood cancer in state cancer-action plans and is leading an effort to create a national grant program to support states that don’t. The Kentucky Cancer Action Plan has become a model for other states, the news release says.
Bloyd helped secure $30 million in first-year funding to implement a comprehensive childhood cancer bill (the Childhood Cancer STAR Act) passed by Congress in 2018. She also secured a partnership with Amazon to launch a multinational childhood cancer awareness campaign.
She has helped to lead more than 30 childhood cancer events across the country, and has helped organize childhood cancer awareness days in multiple state capitols. Further, she has led national grassroots efforts to stop changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that would have reduced or eliminated benefits for children diagnosed with pre-existing conditions such as cancer.
In Kentucky, Bloyd worked with the General Assembly to create the trust fund she now leads as an umbrella organization to organize all pediatric cancer work across the state.
Dr. Jason Chesney, director of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, said Bloyd’s leadership led Kentucky to become the first state to have a specific budget line for childhood cancer research.
“In 2018, her advocacy led to $5 million in funding for first-time pediatric cancer research at the state’s two children’s oncology group hospitals,” Chesney and Dr. Ashok Raj wrote in a letter endorsing the award.
Bloyd is now eligible for the Healthy Kentucky Policy Champion of the Year award, which comes with a $5,000 grant from the foundation to a Kentucky-based nonprofit of the winner’s choice. The winner will be announced at the foundation’s annual health policy forum Sept. 23 in Lexington.