publication date: Dec. 4, 2015

Choi Named OncoDermatology Chief at Northwestern Memorial 

 

JENNIFER NAM CHOI was named chief of the Division of OncoDermatology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and associate professor in the Department of Dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Choi will also join the melanoma team at Northwestern Medicine.

The Division of OncoDermatology is comprised of dermatologists who specialize in treating the mucocutaneous complications of cancer treatments and comprises one of five units within Northwestern Medicine’s Skin Cancer Institute of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.

Specifically, Choi’s team provides care for skin, mucosal, hair and nail toxicities in patients undergoing cancer treatment, including chemotherapy and radiation. Her team also manages toxicities that may arise as a result of stem cell or solid organ transplantation—utilizing its graft-vs-host disease program, the skin cancer surveillance initiative for high-risk patients and Northwestern Memorial’s extracorporeal photopheresis unit.

Choi was the founder and director of the Yale Oncodermatology Clinic at Yale School of Medicine since 2008, and also served as the Melanoma Unit Disease Team co-leader at the Yale Cancer Center since 2009.

 

ROBERT HAUSER was named vice president of clinical analytics at Cancer Treatment Centers of America Medicine & Science.

Hauser will direct the development of a analytics program to support enhancements in quality of care, clinical research and clinical innovation. In this role, he will assess the organization’s clinical analytic and data needs, design strategy and tactics to meet those needs, and lead implementation of analytic and reporting strategies.

Hauser most recently served as senior director of the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Quality and Guidelines Department where he managed the development of ASCO’s CancerLinQ project. Previously, he was the director of operations and informatics at the International Oncology Network. Additionally, Hauser also served as vice president and chief operating officer of Geriatric Oncology Consortium Inc.

 

MIA LEVY was named director of Cancer Health Information and Strategy at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. Levy is the Ingram Assistant Professor of Cancer Research and director of Cancer Clinical Informatics at the center.

In this newly created role, Levy will conceptualize and supervise the development of new informatics tools to support precision cancer medicine, data analytics and cancer care coordination.

Levy worked as co-developer of My Cancer Genome, an online medical decision support tool for cancer care hosted online by VICC.

 

CITY of HOPE announced three recent hires.

Bart Roep joined City of Hope as chair of the Department of Diabetes Immunology within the Diabetes & Metabolism Research Institute.

Roep served as head of the Division of Autoimmunity and professor of medicine, diabetology, immunopathology and immune intervention therapy at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands. He also served as director of the Netherlands’ National Diabetes Expert Center on Immunoprotection.

A recognized authority on multiple aspects of type 1 diabetes, including the potential for vaccine therapy to cure the disease, Roep has been honored with the JDRF Gerold & Kayla Grodsky Basic Research Scientist Award 2015 and the Minkowski Award for T1D Scientific Excellence 2004, the most prestigious national and European awards in diabetes.

Veronica Jones joined City of Hope as an assistant clinical professor in the department of surgery, specializing in breast surgery.

Jones was an assistant professor in the department of surgery at Emory University. At Baylor, Jones was honored as chief resident of the year. In 2014, she completed a breast surgical oncology fellowship at Emory University.

Daneng Li joined City of Hope as an assistant clinical professor in the department of medical oncology and therapeutics, specializing in geriatric oncology, and GI oncology

Li receive his medical doctorate from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, before pursuing an internship and residency in internal medicine at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. He recently completed a hematology/oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

 

DAVID FLOCKHART, board member of The Personalized Medicine Coalition, died Nov. 26.

Flockhart helped establish a foundation for personalized medicine by developing the P450 Drug Interaction Table, which provides information on how an individual will metabolize certain drugs.

Flockhart, who served as the director of the Indiana Institute for Personalized Medicine at Indiana University, had been elected to PMC’s board of directors just months before he passed away of glioblastoma multiforme on Thanksgiving.

PMC Board Chair William Dalton said Flockhart was an extraordinary leader for the field.

“Dave Flockhart was a unique individual in many ways, combining outstanding scientific skills with integrity and compassion,” Dalton said. “He will be remembered as an impactful scientist, clinician and mentor dedicated to the advancement of personalized medicine to improve the lives of patients everywhere. Indeed, Dave was truly inspirational in his ability to learn and ultimately teach us all in dealing with his own health challenges. He will be sorely missed.”

In an interview published in September in the fall issue of PMC’s newsletter, Education + Advocacy, Flockhart described his experience receiving personalized care. He emphasized the importance of thoughtful interactions with patients.

“It is the simple act of caring that really matters,” he said. “Of course, the advances of knowing what drugs my cancer is more likely to respond to are important. The skill of my surgeon is important, but what matters most when you are undergoing treatment is a kind word, a touch, the simple act of caring.”

Prior to joining Indiana University in the summer of 2001, Flockhart had served as the Francis Cabell Brown Chair, chief of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and director of the Pharmacogenetics Core Laboratory at Georgetown University Medical Center.

A native of Edinburgh, Scotland, Flockhart obtained a Ph.D. from the Welsh National School of Medicine and an M.D. from the University of Miami School of Medicine.

 

FOX CHASE CANCER CENTER – Temple Health formed a partnership with Accutest Research Laboratories for joint work on clinical trials.

The partnership aims to offer a research platform to conduct clinical trials in the United States, India, Southeast Asia and Latin America. Representatives of both organizations signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding on Nov. 10 in New Delhi.

Accutest was founded in 1998, and offers end-to-end services to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Its services include phase I bioavailability/bioequivalence studies, phase II – IV clinical development services and biosimilars services, covering clinical operations, clinical data management, pharmacovigilance, and medical writing services.

 

MANIPAL HOSPITALS’ corporate and teaching facilities in India will adopt IBM’s Watson for Oncology, a cognitive computing platform that analyzes data to identify evidence-based treatment options.

This will be the first deployment of Watson in India.

Watson for Oncology was developed by IBM in concert with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. To date, Watson for Oncology has ingested nearly 15 million pages of medical content, including more than 200 medical textbooks and 300 medical journals. This year alone, nearly 44,000 oncology research papers have been published in medical journals around the world. This amounts to nearly 122 new papers published every day.

 

THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR RADIATION ONCOLOGY published a new template that standardizes and streamlines the creation of patient-focused plans for long-term cancer survivor care following radiation therapy.

The template and related research papers, “Development of a Standard Survivorship Care Plan for Radiation Oncologists” and “U.S. Radiation Oncology Practice Patterns for Post-Treatment Survivor Care,” are published in Practical Radiation Oncology, the official clinical journal of ASTRO.

The template was developed to coordinate post-treatment care for cancer survivors among the various contributors to their care, including primary care providers and oncology specialists, as well as patients.

The framework also helps practices meet new accreditation requirements set by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. In response to a 2006 recommendation from the Institutes of Medicine that cancer patients be provided with a survivorship care plan following treatment, CoC issued a mandate that cancer programs provide SCPs for all curative cancer patients by 2019 to maintain accreditation.

The new requirement may necessitate changes for the majority of radiation oncology programs, according to data from a March 2014 survey of ASTRO members. The survey found that only 40 percent and 19 percent of respondents used SCPs for curative and palliative patients, respectively. Primary barriers to implementation included cost and the lack of a standardized, comprehensive SCP framework suited to patients who received RT. Nearly 80 percent of the RT providers that reported using SCPs relied on a framework developed internally within their practice, indicating that different patients may receive different types of information depending on where they receive treatment.

“This two-page template facilitates consistency in SCPs across the discipline and also reduces the time and effort required by providers to complete each individual plan,” said Ronald Chen, an associate professor in radiation oncology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and lead author on the manuscript that includes the template.

“The field of radiation oncology has a long tradition of creating treatment summaries for each patient, even before the Institute of Medicine recommended survivorship care plans in 2006. This radiation-oncology specific template will serve a dual purpose as both a traditional radiation oncology treatment summary and a plan for survivorship care that meets CoC requirements – thus reducing the burden on radiation oncologists from having to create two documents for each patient.”

Chen was the chair of ASTRO’s Clinical, Translational and Basic Science Advisory Committee, the group that examined current adoption levels of SCPs and developed the template to standardize them in the future.

 

WEST CANCER CENTER celebrated the grand opening of its East Campus location with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Nov. 17.

The 123,000 square foot facility combines West Cancer Center’s multispecialty services and clinical research program all at one location.

“This marks another milestone in the transformation of how we care for and treat our patients,” said Erich Mounce, CEO of West Cancer Center.

“By physically combining the forces of our multidisciplinary specialty teams into one facility, we are creating an environment that truly fosters collaboration and produces a unique understanding of what each specialty requires, allowing everyone to perform at their highest level.”

The opening is a result of a partnership between Methodist Healthcare, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and West Clinic, who joined together in January 2012 to form West Cancer Center.

 

THE NATIONAL HEALTH CARE ANTI-FRAUD ASSOCIATION today presented its Investigation of the Year Award to a team of federal agencies together with a private health insurer for their collaborative work on the case of United States of America v. Farid Fata, MD.

This investigation involved a leading hematologist-oncologist in Michigan who misdiagnosed and mistreated hundreds of his patients for conditions they did not have, including cancer, in order to maximize billing to Medicare and private insurance.

Over the course of four days, the initial tip was received, allegations were verified, and search warrants and criminal complaints were prepared, resulting in Fata’s arrest.

On July 10, Fata was sentenced to 45 years in federal prison and ordered to forfeit $17.6 million for violating the trust of 553 patients and for submitting approximately $34 million in fraudulent claims. At his sentencing, U.S. District Judge Paul Borman said, “This is a huge, horrific series of criminal acts that were committed by the defendant,” and then said that Fata “practiced greed and shut down whatever compassion he had.”

The awardees are: the Fraud Section of the Department of Justice Criminal Division; the Office of Investigations under the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services; the Criminal Investigation department of the Internal Revenue Service; U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan; the FBI Detroit Field Office; and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Corporate and Financial Investigations.

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