Congratulations to Dr Rajesh V. Lalla, DDS, PhD, the recipient of the MASCC Distinguished Service Award (MASCC’s highest honor). This award recognizes meritorious service, exemplary leadership and outstanding contribution to the society and its mission.
Dr Lalla has been an active MASCC member for 20 years and served as President of the organization from 2018-2020. During his presidency, one of his most notable accomplishments was the development of MASCC’s affiliate program, which resulted in a more than doubling of MASCC’s membership. This program also greatly increased the reach and influence of MASCC around the world and contributed significantly to the international sharing of practices in supportive care.
Among Dr Lalla’s other legacies is the Best of MASCC Meetings initiative, which helped to promote the MASCC Annual Meeting around the world. He also worked closely with Prof Annie Young (Chair of the Membership Committee) and Ms. Melissa Chin (MASCC Executive Director) to develop two new membership incentive programs: the Buddy Program and the Year of the Nurse Program. These programs were very successful in attracting new members, including from South America, where MASCC did not have many members previously.
Dr Lalla is currently a Professor and Associate Dean for Research at the UConn School of Dental Medicine in the USA. His research area of focus is the oral complications of cancer therapy, and throughout his career he has authored more than 100 scientific articles, which have been viewed online more than 35,000 times and cited over 4600 times. He is currently an overall Principal Investigator (along with Dr Michael Brennan) on a landmark multi-center prospective observational cohort study of oral complications after radiation therapy for head and neck cancer (the OraRad Study).
Prior to being elected President of MASCC, Dr Lalla had served on the board since 2012 (until 2022), and he has chaired both the Governance and Nominations Committee and the Guidelines Committee. In addition, he was Chair of the Mucositis Study Group from 2009-2015, during which time he led a comprehensive update of the MASCC Mucositis Guidelines, resulting in 16 total publications.
Dr Lalla’s broad-mindedness, kindness and enthusiasm have had an enormous impact on MASCC and its work. On behalf of the society, we would like to thank Dr Lalla for his many years of dedicated service to MASCC and congratulate him on this well-deserved honor.