Hill Harper to Join Obama’s Cancer Panel

The actor, who has survived thyroid cancer, was one of the key Obama-administration appointees announced this week.

Paul Morigi/Getty Images
Paul Morigi/Getty Images

(The Root) — Actor Hill Harper, who plays Dr. Sheldon Hawkes on CBS’ CSI: NY and who chronicles his real-life diagnosis with thyroid cancer and his journey to health in the 2011 New York Times best-seller The Wealth Cure: Putting Money in Its Place, will be appointed to the president’s Cancer Panel, the White House announced on Wednesday.  

The three-member panel is responsible for monitoring the development and execution of the activities of the National Cancer Program, and reports directly to the president. Its most recent report described concrete actions the research and health care communities can take to propel the nation toward effective cancer education and treatment services across the cancer continuum that “reach beyond traditional ideas of race, ethnicity and culture.” Appointees are selected because their training, experience and background make them “exceptionally qualified to appraise the National Cancer Program.”

Harper, who has a B.A. from Brown University, an M.P.A. from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, described his illness and his personal insights about fighting cancer in a 2011 interview with NewsOne to discuss The Wealth Cure.

“I started by talking about my own personal journey,” Harper said. “That’s the cure side of the book.”

“The Wealth Cure” grew out of Harper’s work to cultivate financial literacy with his Manifest Your Destiny Foundation.

“I started to see [people] would use money as an excuse for not living the the best version of their lives,” Harper recalled. ” ‘I really want to do this and I can’t afford it.’ That’s when a light bulb came on.”

Harper says that he realized that people could use the same five-step process to cure their financial ills that he was using to fight his cancer, beginning with diagnosis, treatment plan, compliance with that plan, and maintenance.

“The last step is to thrive,” Harper said.

Today Harper has a clean bill of health and has filmed a PSA encouraging people to get screened and emphasizing that thyroid cancer is “preventable, treatable and beatable.”