42-04 Mehta Named Deputy Director at Miami Cancer Institute

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Mehta Named Deputy Director at Miami Cancer Institute

MINESH MEHTA joined Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health South Florida as deputy director and chief of radiation oncology.

Mehta comes to Baptist Health from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where he served as medical director of the Maryland Proton Treatment Center in Baltimore—the area’s first proton treatment center, which he helped to launch.

Mehta was also the university’s associate director of clinical research in the Department of Radiation Oncology. Prior to his time at Maryland, he held academic, research and administrative leadership positions at Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin, where he was appointed chairman of the medical school’s Department of Human Oncology and led research studies, technology development and expansion at the University of Wisconsin Cancer Center. He also headed the university’s brain tumor program for more than 15 years. At the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University in Chicago, Mehta was co-director of the Radiation Oncology Residency Training Program.

The Miami Cancer Institute’s new $430-million proton therapy facility, opening in 2016 and located on the Baptist Hospital of Miami campus, expects to treat its first patient with proton therapy in 2017.

CARMEN SOLÓRZANO was named chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology and Endocrine Surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Solórzano is a professor of Surgery and director of the Endocrine Surgery Center.

Solórzano joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2010 and specializes in endocrine surgery, including neoplasms and cancers of the thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands, the pancreas and digestive system, as well as neuroendocrine tumors. She was selected following a national search that included more than 70 potential candidates, according to the center.

In addition to her current role at VUMC, Solórzano has served as chief of General Surgery at the Veterans Administration Hospital since 2012.

Solórzano previously served as assistant professor of surgery at the University of Miami, and later became chief of Endocrine Surgery. She has authored more than 100 publications, has lectured around the world and serves on the editorial boards for several journals.

JUDY KEEN was named director of scientific affairs of the American Society for Radiation Oncology.

Keen will work to develop and implement initiatives that promote clinical, translational and basic radiation research, with the ultimate goal of advancing both science and evidence-based patient care throughout the radiation oncology community—including managing various funding mechanisms offered by ASTRO, such as its junior faculty awards and seed grants, as well as finding and promoting opportunities from external funding agencies to share with ASTRO members.

Keen will also serve as ASTRO’s primary scientific liaison to internal and external partners involved in biomedical research, including the ASTRO Science Council, federal agencies, other medical societies, coalitions, the biopharmaceutical industry, and policymakers.

Prior to joining ASTRO, Keen was director of research collaborations for the National Breast Cancer Coalition. Before NBCC, she worked at NCI, first as a health science analyst in the Office of Science Planning and Assessment, then as program director for the NIH Genotype Tissue Expression project within the Biorepository and Biospecimen Research Branch. The GTEx project included curating a collection of genomic and clinical data from more than 900 donors that was designed to explore genetic variability in humans and the changes that lead to disease.

Keen also spent several years as an assistant professor in the department of medicine at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

TARA YATES was named director of communications of the Wistar Institute.

Yates comes to Wistar from Roswell Park Cancer Institute, where she was director of public affairs in the marketing department. While there, she led the public affairs team and managed internal, external and crisis communications, media relations, and web content for the comprehensive cancer center.

Yates also serves as vice-chair of the Public Affairs and Marketing Network, a professional organization of academically based comprehensive, clinical, basic and consortium cancer centers. PAMN works in close association with the NCI’s Office of Media Relations and Public Affairs to further public awareness of cancer research, prevention, detection and treatment.

THE OVARIAN CANCER NATIONAL ALLIANCE and the OVARIAN CANCER RESEARCH FUND announced a merger, forming the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance. The new body will be the largest global organization dedicated to advancing ovarian cancer research.

“The Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance believes we can gain more ground together, fighting disease through a ‘one-stop shop’ approach to research, advocacy, education and awareness,” said OCRFA President and CEO Audra Moran. “The formation of OCRFA will propel ovarian cancer prevention and treatment forward at an accelerated pace.”

Between the two organizations, nearly $70 million has been invested over the past 22 years in research grants to diagnose, treat and cure ovarian cancer.

“This merger will unite the ovarian cancer community under one strong voice. OCRFA is committed to continuing and expanding the many patient-centered programs begun by both the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance and Ovarian Cancer Research Fund in the past, including, the Ovarian Cancer National Conference, Survivors Teaching Students and Woman to Woman,” said OCRFA Executive Vice President Calaneet Balas.

UC SAN DIEGO HEALTH selected e+CancerCare, a national operator of outpatient cancer care centers, to operate the UC San Diego Health – Chula Vista radiation oncology facility.

e+CancerCare will fully manage operations allowing affiliated physicians, UC San Diego faculty, nurses and staff. It will serve as the company’s first center in California and its first collaboration with an academic health system.

The Chula Vista facility, which focuses on patients of Moores Cancer Center, includes patient navigators and clinical staff. Founded in 2002, e+CancerCare runs 22 centers in nine states, providing diagnostic testing, radiation oncology, medical oncology and ancillary services.

HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL’s Health Care Initiative launched the Precision Trials Challenge, a competition to bring precision diagnostics and therapies to market more quickly.

“How can we develop business models that support the advancement of precision medicine? How can we get new therapies to market faster and at a lower cost? Our Precision Trials Challenge will help answer these questions by encouraging conversation and helping to put leading-edge ideas into practice,” said professor Richard Hamermesh.

The challenge is accepting applications through March 13. A panel of judges will select one winner and two runners-up to share a $100,000 prize. The winner will be announced in April and have the opportunity to present at the 2016 Personalized Medicine Conference.

The Precision Trials Challenge is funded by the Kraft Endowment for Advancing Precision Medicine, established last fall by a $20 million gift from the Kraft Family Foundation under the leadership of Foundation president Robert K. Kraft.