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April 20, 2009

Marla Augustine, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047 or


DHHS Presents Volunteer Service Award to Dr. Alan Thorson

Lincoln – Dr. Alan Thorson of Omaha was recently presented the Individual Volunteer Service Award at the Nebraska Public Health Conference in Lincoln.

The Volunteer Service Award honors an individual, organization or business promoting public health by contributing to the implementation of new services or expansion of existing services.

Dr. Thorson is the founding chair of Nebraska CARES, the state’s comprehensive cancer control partnership. He has also been instrumental in developing the Nebraska Colon Cancer Screening Program, administered by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. He is a colorectal cancer surgeon in Omaha and a clinical associate professor of surgery at both Creighton and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He is currently President Elect of the American Cancer Society at the national level and will become President in November.

“Dr. Thorson gives freely of his time and expertise for Nebraska CARES,” said Dr. Joann Schaefer, Nebraska Chief Medical Officer and Director of the Division of Public Health. “Despite his busy private practice, he has contributed enormous amounts of time at both the state and national level to reducing the burden of cancer. His knowledge and stature have made him an important source of advice for the Centers for Disease Control as well as the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.”

Dr. Thorson’s contributions include:

  • Serving as chair to the Colon Cancer subgroup of the state program’s Medical Advisory Committee;
  • Recruiting partners and helping develop Stay in the Game, a campaign using Husker sports to increase colorectal cancer screening awareness;
  • Serving as an unpaid consultant for the Nebraska Colon Cancer Program and responding to “ask the doctor” questions on the website;
  • Serving as chair of the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and helping secure commitment from all Nebraska cancer centers for treatment of persons diagnosed with colon cancer in the Nebraska Colon Cancer Program;
  • Serving as chair to the Douglas Sarpy County Task Force for Colorectal Cancer Screening;
  • Serving as president of the Nebraska Medical Association; and
  • Serving in numerous state and national roles for the American Cancer Society


Please click on the link below to view the photo.