The former President of the American Cancer Society, Dr. Alva Hamblin Letton died last week at the age of 93. He was present and gave remarks at President Nixon’s signing of the National Cancer Act on December 23, 1971.

Dr. James Cavanaugh spoke about RN’s early efforts at health care reform at the Nixon Library earlier this month. His presentation was part of a panel of key White House officials who helped spearhead the President’s domestic policy initiatives, the first topic in a year long series of Richard Nixon Legacy Forums.

“I think for people who follow health issues, who follow health policy, who follow the history of healthcare programs in this country,” RN’s legacy “will be fairly good.” Cavanaugh said. “People who realistically look at what his program had look at it favorably.”

One of those people was Dr. Alva Hamblin Letton, who passed away last week at 93.

As President of the American Cancer Society, he was present at the White House on December 23, 1971 when RN signed the National Cancer Act.

Dr. Letton called the legislation “the greatest thing ever done by the United States,” and expressed his deepest appreciation that the President made the fight against cancer a national priority.

“That was an important piece of legislation because it established regional cancer centers,” current ACS CEO Dr. John Seffrin says, “In 1971, there were none; now there are more than 40, and Emory will have the first one in the state of Georgia.”

Here is the video of the signing followed by Dr. Letton’s remarks: