Melissa Habedank Bender is the Senior Director of External Relations for the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). In this position, she builds and leads evidence-to-action programs and professional partnerships that support and sustain translational science, training for health professionals, and clinical-to-communities initiatives. Melissa began her career in health legislation and advocacy, spending nearly a decade working in the U.S. Congress to develop and pass landmark health, nutrition and education legislation before working on public health campaigns in East Africa and Southeast Asia. Immediately prior to joining AICR, Melissa served as Director of Strategy and Innovation and Interim Director of Quality Improvement for a multi-county network of community health centers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Melissa holds a Master of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins University and a BA (Hons.) in Communications.