Taking Aim at Cancer in Louisiana (TACL), an organization formed last year to address Louisiana’s high rates of cancer, reached a milestone last month when its executive committee adopted bylaws and elected officers to establish TACL (pronounced ‘tackle’) as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. The Louisiana Department of Health is currently providing leadership and support for the initiative.

Launched in May 2018 by Gov. John Bel Edwards and Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rebekah Gee through a $500,000 grant from UnitedHealth Group to the Louisiana Cancer Consortium, Taking Aim at Cancer in Louisiana is a collaborative effort to improve cancer survival rates in the state.

Louisiana has the fourth-worst cancer outcomes in the United States with more than 175 people dying from cancer every week. Data also shows significant racial disparities across populations and regions of the state when it comes to how cancer is treated.

The goals of the initiative include improving early detection, improving patient care and treatment, and ultimately improving patient outcomes. Additionally, the initiative places emphasis on actions that are needed from statewide partners, including physicians who treat cancer patients, to better align policies, programs, and practices related to cancer diagnoses and treatments.

Since its launch, Taking Aim at Cancer in Louisiana has started to develop a coordinated strategy to improve cancer care and outcomes for the people of Louisiana.

“The collaborative has been successful in bringing together various payers, service providers, employers and advocates,” said TACL’s Terry Birkhoff, executive director. “This effort has already resulted in a unified, statewide effort to improve cancer outcomes and reduce racial and geographic disparities in cancer outcomes by expanding residents’ access to cancer prevention, screen and treatment.”

TACL’s newly-formed board has representation from leaders across multiple healthcare organizations and other sectors in the state. These include:

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana 

Ochsner Health System 


Patient Advocate/Cancer Survivor 

LCMC Health

Peoples Health 

Louisiana Department of Health

Teche Action Clinics 

Louisiana Medicaid MCO Association 

Tulane School of Medicine 

LSU School of Medicine & Public Health

Turner Industries 

Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center 

United Healthcare 


The TACL Board provides governance and oversight to three working committees: Clinical (breast and colorectal cancer workgroups), Data, and Community Engagement.