Logo with Capitol building and horizontal helix. The logo text reads: Congressional Families, Program of the Prevent Cancer Foundation


Congressional Families® Program

Cancer touches all of us—and it takes all of us to beat it.

About the Program

The Congressional Families® Program is a bipartisan, non-political effort to increase the public’s understanding of cancer prevention and early detection through education and outreach. Members of Congress and their spouses/partners are supported in using their unique platforms to raise awareness, highlight resources and inspire action in their home districts and states through site visits, op-eds and social media content, building a nonpartisan community focused on stopping cancer.

Who We Are

The Congressional Families Program, led by a congressional spouse, includes more than 180 congressional spouses as part of its Executive Council and Advisory Committee.

The Program began in 1991 as a collaboration of the Prevent Cancer Foundation and the Congressional Club and focused on the areas of breast and prostate cancer. The success of the Program’s first five years, combined with medical advancements, led to the expansion of its scope to include more cancer types that can often be prevented or detected early. Using the Program’s tools, congressional members and spouses have a national impact by educating the public and encouraging steps to prevent cancer and detect it early for better health outcomes.

Highlighting breast screening services of community grantee, Albie Aware, in 2022. L to R: Koby Rodriguez, Sacramento LGBT Community Center; Courtney Quinn, Albie Aware; Rep. Doris Matsui (Calif.), Congressional Families Program co-founder; Rep. Jim and Program Executive Director Lisa McGovern (Mass.); and Doug Carson, founder, Albie Aware
Highlighting breast screening services of community grantee, Albie Aware, in 2022. L to R: Courtney Quinn, Albie Aware; Rep. Doris Matsui (Calif.), Congressional Families Program co-founder; Rep. Jim and Program Executive Director Lisa McGovern (Mass.); and Doug Carson, founder, Albie Aware
Distinguished Service in Journalism Honoree Al Roker, top center, poses with a bipartisan group of congressional spouses at the 2023 Action for Cancer Awareness Awards.
Members of the Program visit community grantee, the McLaren Northern Michigan Foundation. L to R: Ellen Noghes, spouse (diplomatic community), Cindy Bergman (spouse, Rep. Jack Bergman, Mich.), Executive Director Lisa McGovern, and Colleen Ochoa Peters (spouse, Sen. Gary Peters, Mich.).
A bipartisan presentation: Former Gov. Larry Hogan presents Rep. Jamie Raskin with the 2023 Special Recognition Award. Both Maryland officials battled cancer while serving in office.
L to R: Rep. Nikema Williams (Ga.), Charlie Capito (spouse, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, W.Va.), First Lady Jill Biden, Executive Director Lisa McGovern, LeeAnn Johnson (spouse, Rep. Bill Johnson, Ohio), Mary Himes (spouse, Rep. Jim Himes, Conn.), and Martha McKenzie Hill (spouse, Rep. French Hill, Ark.) at the 2023 Capitol HIll Reception.

Executive Council

Lisa McGovern
Executive Director, Congressional Families
Spouse, Rep. Jim McGovern (Democrat, Mass.)

Charlie Capito
Spouse, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (Republican, W. Va.)

The Honorable Debbie Dingell (Democrat, Mich.)

Brenda Fleischmann
Spouse, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (Republican, Tenn.)

Patti Garamendi
Spouse, Rep. John Garamendi (Democrat, Calif.)

Lorena Saenz Gonzalez
Spouse, Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (Democrat, Texas)

Barbara Grassley
Spouse, Sen. Chuck Grassley (Republican, Iowa)

Mikey Hoeven
Spouse, Sen. John Hoeven (Republican, N.D.)

Sarah Hospodor-Pallone
Spouse, Rep. Frank Pallone (Democrat, N.J.)

Wayne Kye, D.D.S.
Spouse, Rep. Grace Meng (Democrat, N.Y.)

Martha Hill
Spouse, Rep. French Hill (Republican, Ark.)

Marcia Latta
Spouse, Rep. Bob Latta (Republican, Ohio)

Laina Marshall
Spouse, Sen. Roger Marshall (Republican, Kan.)

Colleen Ochoa Peters
Spouse, Sen. Gary Peters (Democrat, Mich.)

Monica Ruiz
Spouse, Rep. Raul Ruiz (Democrat, Calif.)

Alfredia Scott
Spouse, Rep. David Scott (Democrat, Ga.)

Ex-Officio members
LeeAnn Johnson (Republican, Ohio)

Barbara Morris-Lent (Republican, N.Y.)

The Honorable Marie Royce (Republican, Calif.)

Betty Ann Tanner (Democrat, Tenn.)

NPR’s “All Things Considered” Feature

Our unique, bipartisan program was recently showcased on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

Listen Here

Capitol Hill Events

The Program hosts invitation-only events attended by numerous Members of Congress and their spouses, as well as leaders in the cancer community. Since 1993, the Action for Cancer Awareness Awards Luncheon has been the program’s signature event. Awards are presented in the following categories: Congressional Families Leadership, Distinguished Service in Journalism and Excellence in Cancer Awareness. Previous honorees include: the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Chris Evert, Patrick Dempsey, Scott Hamilton, Hoda Kotb, and Siddhartha Mukherjee, M.D, Ph.D. Full list of recipients here.

Since 2023, the Program has also hosted a Spring Reception on Capitol Hill, to unite the congressional community  with leaders and supporters from the cancer community on shared goals. At the event, the Carolyn “Bo” Aldigé Visionary Award has been presented to Program co-founder  Rep. Doris Matsui (Calif.) and Dr. Francis Collins, who led the Human Genome Project.

Congressional members and spouses at a Prevent Cancer Foundation Congressional Families Program event.
A group of members, spouses and guests at the 2023 Action for Cancer Awareness Awards Luncheon.
Dr. Francis Collins with Lisa McGovern, Jody Hoyos, Rep. Rosa DeLauro and Sheetal Sheth.
Dr. Francis Collins was honored with the Carolyn “Bo” Aldigé Visionary Award at the 2024 Spring Reception.
Honorees with Jody Hoyos and Lisa McGovern.
The 2023 Action for Cancer Awareness Awards Luncheon honored Al Roker, congressional spouses Patricia Garamendi (married to Rep. John Garamendi, Calif.) and Martha McKenzie Hill (married to Rep. French Hill, Ark.), and Rep. Jamie Raskin (Md.).
First Lady Jill Biden at podium.
First Lady Jill Biden delivers remarks at the 2023 Congressional Families Spring Reception at the Library of Congress, Wednesday, April 19, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith)

Community Site Visits

The Congressional Families Program travels to communities across the U.S. (and around the world), joining with Members and spouses to highlight community grant projects or other local cancer prevention and early detection resources.

Catching up with LUCAS
Group inside LUCAS truck.

Catching up with LUCAS

Lisa McGovern and Charlie Capito (married to Sen. Shelly Moore Capito, W. Va.) visit West Virginia University Cancer Institute’s LUCAS, a mobile lung cancer screening unit.

Cancer Prevention at the YMCA
Rep. Paul Tonko (N.Y.) at podium.

Cancer Prevention at the YMCA

Rep. Paul Tonko (N.Y.) joins the launch of a collaborative initiative with the Capital District YMCA.

Visiting KILELE Health in Nairobi, Kenya
Lisa McGovern with Benda Kithaka.

Visiting KILELE Health in Nairobi, Kenya

Lisa McGovern travels to Nairobi, Kenya, to meet with the inspirational women of KILELE Health, a Prevent Cancer Foundation grantee.

Voices for Cancer Prevention

Congressional members and spouses are powerful voices to spread the message of cancer prevention and early detection across the U.S. This series invites Program members to share timely and vital information to educate the public and inspire action.

Examples of past participants include Rep. Debbie Dingell (Mich.) on routine cancer screenings; Rep. John Garamendi (Calif.) on UV Safety Month; Rep. Nikema Williams (Ga.) on National Minority Health Month; Charlie Capito, spouse of Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) on Lung Cancer Awareness Month; Dr. Laura Cassidy, spouse of Sen. Bill Cassidy (La.), on Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month; and Dr. Wayne Kye, spouse of Rep. Grace Meng (N.Y.) on Oral Health Month.

With special thanks to our sponsors:

Advisory Committee


More than 180 Congressional spouses of sitting members of Congress have joined the Program’s Advisory Committee. By adding their names, these individuals demonstrate that cancer prevention is important to them and they support our work to stop cancer which  knows no political, ethnic, gender, age or socioeconomic boundaries.

Caroline Aderholt

Robin Allen

Linda Bachus**

Abby Bean

Cindy Bergman

Susan J. Blumenthal, M.D.

Kevin Boyce

Charlie Capito*

Myrna E. Cardin

Audrey Case

Rosel Cloud

Catherine “Smitty” Connolly

Stacy Crawford

Pat Cunnane

Rep. Debbie Dingell*

Leah Ott Dunn

Julie Ferguson

Scott Fletcher

Amy Franklin

Patricia Garamendi*

Alexa Gooden

David Gowing

Cheryl Greene

Conan Harris

Mary Herman

Mary Himes

Cathy Holahan

Renee Hudson

Jolene Ivey

Kennisandra Jeffries

Rhonda Kean

Jennifer Kilmer

Kaylie LaLota

Chrissy Levin

Leslie Luttrell

Laina Marshall*

Curtis McBath

Christine McGarvey

Debra Miller, M.D.

Mary Beth Morelle

Jane Mrvan

Tim Mynett

Heather Obernolte

Kelley Paul

Annalise Phillips

Sarah Bloom Raskin

Chelsea Rose

Kay Ruppersberger

Dina Sarbanes

Steve Schultz

Tracy Self

Leslie Small

Amanda Soto*

Laura Strong

London J. Thompson

Terra Valadao

Tonya Veasey

Brenda Weber

Sharon Westerman

Stephanie Williams

Kathryn Wittman

Lola Zinke

Alisha Aguilar

Anne Arrington

M.Priyasri Bala, M.D.

Tamra Bentsen**

Megan Beyer

Cathy Boozman

Sandy Buchanan

Gina Carbajal

Meghan Conrad Carey

Evelyn Chinea-Garcia

Lisa Collis

Sandy Cornyn

Deserai Crow, Ph.D.

Vera G. Davis

Libby Doggett

Pat Engel

Scott Fischbach

Mandi Flood

Bronwen Fry

Isobel Golden

Lynn Gorguze

Barbara Grassley*

Ramona Grijalva

Nicole Beus Harris

Becca Higgins

Mary Hodge

Sarah Hospodor-Pallone*

Susan Huffman

Marisa Jackson

Mereda Davis Johnson

Tevis Keating

Roberta Kustoff

Jill LaMalfa

Bill Lewis

Margaret Lynch

Brianna Mast

Linda McCaul

Simone-Marie Meeks

Emily Miller

Leah Moskowitz

Marion Munley

Andrea Neguse

Leighton Oshima

Paul Pelosi

Katie Posey

Esther Reynoso, M.D.

Monica Ruiz*

Rebecca Ryan

Eve Schiff

Alfredia Scott*

Karen Sessions

Sara R. Smith

Nicole Stanton

John Sundahl

Louis Torres

Katherine Van Hollen

Ray Wagner

Margaret Cheney Welch

Gayle Wicker

Steve Williamson

Steve Wrinn

Leslie Alford

Roxanne Babin

Amanda Banks

Janine Bera, M.D.

Vivian Bishop

Tracy Bost

Fianny Cabrera

Norma Cardenas

Amy Carter

Dianne Cleaver

T.J. Comer

Kris Cramer

Imelda Cuellar

Amy DesJarlais

Rodney Dowell

Suzette Ezell

Brenda M. Fleischmann*

Philip Frank

Sydney Barron Gallego

Lorena Saenz Gonzalez*

Maude Gosar

Carissa Graves

Pam Harder

Matt Harrison

Martha Hill*

Mikey Hoeven*

Bart Houlahan

Emily Hunt

Elizabeth James

Tiia Karlén

Jennifer Kildee

Wayne Kye, D.D.S., M.S.*

Marcia Sloan Latta, Ed.D.*

Betty Lieu, Esq.

Gayle C. Manchin

Rep. Doris Matsui

Corlie McCormick

Tiffany Mfume

Heather Moore

Liz Moulton

Wendy Murphy

Caroline Nickel

Carrie McIntyre Panetta

Colleen Ochoa Peters*

Fred Radewagen

Cynthia Rogers

Patricia Rutherford

Roger Sant

Julie Dann Schneider

Vivien Scott

Lisa Sherman

Mary Sorteberg

Jodi Stauber

Janet Thompson

June Trone

Adrienne Vargas

Sue Walberg

Monica Wenstrup

Patty Williams

Roxanne Wilson

Sallyann Yakym

*Denotes Executive Council member
**Denotes ex-officio member

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