publication date: Sep. 4, 2015

Edith Mitchell Named President of the National Medical Association 

 

EDITH MITCHELL was named president of the National Medical Association, at the organization’s 113th annual convention and scientific assembly in Detroit Aug 4. Mitchell is a professor of medical oncology at Thomas Jefferson University.

“I am deeply honored to have been appointed as president-elect of this prestigious organization,” said Mitchell Aug. 3, who is also the program leader of Gastrointestinal Oncology and associate director for diversity programs at Thomas Jefferson University.

“There is still much work to be done with regards to disparities in medical treatment. I believe that we can all work together and make great strides to address barriers in helping underserved populations get better care and lead to better health care in our nation.”

The NMA is the nation’s oldest and largest professional society for African American physicians. One of its mission statements is to support and increase the representation and contributions of people of African descent by helping shape policy, through educational programs, and community outreach.

Mitchell’s work has focused on groups whose medical needs have not been met by medical system in the United States. As a practicing medical oncologist, her research interests have included many cancer types such as breast, colorectal, pancreatic and other gastrointestinal malignancies.

In 2008, she received the Tree of Life award from the Wellness of You organization, a Philadelphia nonprofit providing health education and resources to the community, in recognition of her efforts in health management in the local and global community.

She was recognized for her commitment to diversity, research, and education in 2009 by the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Control Award.

Mitchell is also a retired brigadier general in the U.S. Air Force, and was the first female physician to attain this rank. She served as senior medical Air National Guard advisor to the command surgeon and was the medical liaison between the active Air Force and the Air National Guard.

 

ROBERT DIPAOLA, STEPHEN GRUBER and CANDACE JOHNSON were elected to the board of directors of the Association of American Cancer Institutes. Their three-year terms will begin Oct. 25, during the annual meeting of the AACI and the Cancer Center Administrators Forum in Washington, D.C.

DiPaola is director of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. He has held multiple local and national positions including the founding director and program leader of the Prostate Cancer Center at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey; national chairman of the Genitourinary Committee of the Eastern Oncology Cooperative Group; chief of Medical Oncology at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; and was appointed as director of the CINJ in 2008.

Gruber was appointed director of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2011. He is a professor of medicine and preventive medicine, and holds the H. Leslie and Elaine S. Hoffman Cancer Research Chair at the University of Southern California. Prior to his appointment at USC Norris, Gruber was associate director of cancer prevention and control at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

As president and chief executive officer of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Johnson oversees all cancer research, patient care, and NCI core funding. Johnson also serves as the Wallace Family Chair in Translational Research and as a professor of oncology. Prior to her appointment, Johnson was deputy director of the institute and also chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics for more than a decade.

 

FRANCIS COLLINS, director of the NIH, was awarded the Leadership in Personalized Medicine Award by the Personalized Medicine Coalition. He will be presented the award during the Personalized Medicine Conference at Harvard Medical School Nov. 19.

In his letter nominating Collins for the award, Harvard Medical School professor Raju Kucherlapati, noted that Collins “has made sustained and critical contributions for the establishment of personalized medicine.”

Collins earned national recognition in 1989, more than a decade before the complete sequencing of the human genome, for his team’s discovery of the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis. He then served as the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, where he was the overall project manager of the international Human Genome Project, which produced a complete map of the human genome in 2003.

He also played a key role in the passage of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act in 2008, which has helped to ensure that the insights from his extraordinary achievements and those of many others are not used for discriminatory purposes.

President Barack Obama nominated him as NIH director in 2009, proclaiming that his work had already “changed the very ways we consider our health and examine disease.” As director, Collins’ advocacy helped shape the Precision Medicine Initiative, which was announced earlier this year as part of the president’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2016.

“I see a day in the not too distant future when every person will have his or her genome sequenced and other important data collected as a routine part of medical care with individualized strategies developed for diagnosing, treating and preventing their disease,” said Collins. “I know that the PMC shares this vision and I am truly honored to receive this award from an organization that continues to pursue the vision with such great passion.”

 

MASSIMO CRISTOFANILLI was appointed associate director for precision medicine and translational research at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and director of Northwestern OncoSET.

Cristofanilli will serve as a professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. His work has focused on the translational research and treatment of patients with inflammatory breast cancer.

Cristofanilli comes to Northwestern from Thomas Jefferson University, where he served as director of Jefferson Breast Care Center and deputy director of Translational Research at the Kimmel Cancer Center.

Previously, Cristofanilli was chair of the Department of Medical Oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center, and executive director of the Morgan Welch Inflammatory Breast Cancer Program and Clinic at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

As associate director for precision medicine and director of Northwestern OncoSET, Cristofanilli will oversee the development of OncoSET and related clinical and research operations. The program involves sequencing tumor genetic profiles and evaluating the results to provide the treatments or clinical trials that will offer the greatest benefit.

 

JEFFREY RATHMELL and W. KIMRYN RATHMELL were both appointed to leadership roles at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

W. Kimryn Rathmell was named director of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Division of Hematology and Oncology, and her husband, Jeffrey, will lead a new Vanderbilt Center of Immunobiology.

Previously, W. Kimryn Rathmell was the Alexander Professor for Translational Science and associate director for Training and Education at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research focuses on the genetic and molecular signals that drive renal cell carcinomas and specializes in the treatment of patients with rare kidney cancers, as well as prostate, bladder and testicular cancer.

At UNC, she also served as a director for the Medical Scientist Training Program and led the mentoring activities of the Hematology and Oncology Division and the Lineberger Cancer Center.

In her current research, Rathmell and colleagues have identified factors that are critical to transitions in the progression of kidney cancer. She has also led or participated in a number of the Cancer Genome Atlas projects.

Rathmell has received the American Society of Clinical Oncology Leadership Development Award, the American Association for Cancer Research Landon INNOVATOR Award for Personalized Medicine, the Ruth and Philip Hettleman Award for Scholarly Achievement, the Doris Duke Clinical Translational Scientist Award, and the V Scholar Award from the V Foundation for Cancer Research.

Jeffrey Rathmell was named a professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology at Vanderbilt, and will also serve as co-leader of the Host Tumor Interactions Research Program. The Center for Immunobiology is supported by the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, the Department of Medicine, and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

Rathmell comes to Vanderbilt from Duke University Medical Center, where he served as associate professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology and of Immunology in the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute, as well as director of Graduate Studies of Pharmacology.

In his laboratory research, Rathmell has examined the metabolism of blood cells. His work at Vanderbilt will focus on the field of immunometabolism and how nutrient and metabolic pathways can influence immune responses in normal and diseased settings.

He received the Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research Scholar Award from the National Cancer Institute, the Scholar Award from the V Foundation for Cancer Research, was named a Research Scholar by the American Cancer Society, the Bernard Osher Fellow of the American Asthma Society and a Leukemia and Lymphoma Scholar.

 

LOIS TRAVIS was named the Lawrence H. Einhorn Professor of Cancer Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine and director of the Cancer Survivorship Research Program at the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center.

Travis is also a member of the cancer center’s Cancer Prevention and Control research program, which focuses on prevention, early detection and survivorship, and she will also hold an academic appointment in the Department of Epidemiology at the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health.

In addition, Travis is the principal investigator of an NIH study that aims to identify genetic variants associated with cisplatin-related toxicities, and focuses on testicular cancer patients previously treated at the IU Simon Cancer Center and other major cancer centers.

Previously, Travis was the director of the Rubin Center for Cancer Survivorship and chief of the Division of Cancer Survivorship at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She also was a senior principal investigator and lead research investigator at the NCI, where for nearly 20 years she conducted international studies of late treatment effects in cancer survivors, with an emphasis on second malignant neoplasms.

 

RACHEL HUMPHREY was named chief medical officer of CytomX. Humphrey previously served as a member of the company’s board of directors.

Humphrey formerly led immuno-oncology at Eli Lilly and AstraZeneca, and also oversaw clinical development of Yervoy (ipilmumab) at Bristol-Myers Squibb and the development of Nexavar (sorafenib) at Bayer.

Humphrey recently held positions as vice president and head of immuno-oncology at Eli Lilly and at AstraZeneca, where she was responsible for building the immuno-oncology departments and supervising the strategies and designs for all the immuno-oncology agents in development.

She previously served as vice president of product development at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where she led all aspects of the clinical development of Yervoy through the submission of global biologics license applications and global launch.

At Bayer, Humphrey supervised the early and late stage clinical development of Nexavar for treatment of renal cell carcinoma. She began her career as an oncology fellow and staff physician at the NCI.

In connection with her appointment as chief medical officer, Humphrey will resign from the board of directors of CytomX.

 

DONALD SHELDON was appointed to the new role of regional president of community hospitals for University Hospitals.

Sheldon has served as president of UH Elyria Medical Center since 2009, and prior to that served for 10 years as Elyria’s chief medical officer.

Sheldon has many years of experience as an emergency physician and was medical director of his emergency medicine group and department. He serves on many community groups’ boards, including the Lorain County Free Clinic, for which he has served as a volunteer physician, medical director and board member since its inception in 1986.

 

KEITH PERRY was named as chief information officer of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Perry joins St. Jude from MD Anderson Cancer Center where he served as associate vice president and deputy chief information officer.

He helped manage the division’s 290 million dollar annual budget, and implemented high performance computing programs to support research and clinical applications, such as next-generation genomic sequencing and proton beam modeling.

 

NORTHWESTERN MEDICINE and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University officially named the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation Breast Cancer OncoSET program.

LSCRF Breast Cancer OncoSET will combine oncology with genomic tumor profiling. The program will initially focus on patients with breast cancer that is non-responsive to traditional therapeutic treatments, and will serve as an extension of the Northwestern OncoSET program that was first launched earlier this year by the Lurie Cancer Center, in collaboration with Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

The Breast Cancer OncoSET program was made possible by a generous donation from the Lynn Sage Cancer Research Foundation, which is the first major naming gift that a Northwestern OncoSET program has received.

 

THE CANCER PREVENTION AND RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF TEXAS awarded seven grants through its academic research program. The grants, totaling $23 million, support the recruitment of seven cancer scientists to academic institutions in Texas, including two distinguished senior researchers.

The awarded grants include the recruitment of first-time, tenure-track faculty members:

Charles Lin, recruitment to Baylor College of Medicine from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – $2,000,000

Leng Han, recruitment to The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston from MD Anderson Cancer Center – $2,000,000

Jan Erzberger, recruitment to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from ETH Zurich (Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule) – $2,000,000

Kendra Frederick, recruitment to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research – $3,000,000

Peter Douglas, recruitment to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from the University of California, Berkeley – $2,000,000

The awards also include the recruitment of established investigators:

Frank McKeon, recruitment to the University of Houston from the Genome Institute of Singapore – $6,000,000

Yang-Xin Fu, recruitment to The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center from the University of Chicago – $6,000,000

Additionally, members of the CPRIT Oversight Committee elected Pete Geren as presiding officer and Will Montgomery as vice presiding officer. Geren, who was vice presiding officer, replaces William Rice, whose term as presiding officer expired. Amy Mitchell was re-elected as secretary of the committee. Geren, Montgomery and Mitchell have been on the commitee since 2013.

Geren is the president of the Sid W. Richardson Foundation. From 2001 to 2009, he served in the U.S. Department of Defense as special assistant to the secretary of defense, acting secretary of the Air Force, undersecretary of the Army and secretary of the Army. He also served four terms in the House of Representatives and was formerly an assistant to Sen. Lloyd Bentsen.

Montgomery is a partner at the law firm Jackson Walker LLP, where his practice focuses on commercial litigation and arbitration.

Mitchell, a cancer survivor, works as an attorney in the real estate practice group of Fulbright & Jaworski’s Austin office. She has been included in Real Estate Law’s “The Best Lawyers in America” listing for the past six years and was named “Texas Top Rated Lawyer” by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell.

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