The Cancer Wars


INSTRUCTOR: Kate Yglesias Houghton


SCHEDULE: Tuesday 2:00PM – 4:45PM

Kate Yglesias Houghton graduated from FIU with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Now, she is the President and CEO of Critical Mass: The Young Adult Cancer Alliance, an organization driven by community members with the goal of change the care and treatment teens and young adults with cancer or cancer survivors. Houghton, being a survivor of acute myeloid leukemia, she has dedicated her career to cancer awareness.

Course Description

The Cancer Wars is an advanced course that explores the history of cancer through the lens of the public policy life cycle. The course will focus on the interaction between federal agencies, the legislative branch, and outside influences such as public opinion, donors, and lobbyists.

Students will spend the first half of the course learning about the history of cancer from its discovery to the Cancer Moonshot introduced at the 2016 State of the Union by Present Barack Obama. For the second half of the course, students will be assigned one (1) cancer as a case study. They will be required to track the progress of that disease from discovery to treatments to public awareness programs. Each week students will hear from members of federal agencies and legislative bodies with the jurisdiction for funding, researching, and treating cancer. As the course’s capstone project, students will deliver a presentation that tracks the cancer they have been assigned through the political process.

Students will learn to:

  • Have a more well-rounded view of political theory and its practical application in a real world setting
  • Present complex policy problems to broad and diverse audiences from elected officials to medical professionals