Dr. John Mendelsohn: "My Change of Role at MD Anderson"

Dear Colleagues and Friends,


After nearly 15 years of some of the happiest and most rewarding experiences in my life, I have decided that this is the right time to ask the Regents and Chancellor to select my successor as President of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. I anticipate that the new President will be in place by August 31, 2011. I will remain fully engaged in my job until the new President is on duty. I have tremendous confidence in our executive leadership team, who will provide continuity in achieving the vision that we have pursued together so successfully during these 15 years. Our dedicated Board of Visitors is matching our aspirations with valuable advice and generous support, including huge increases in philanthropy.


After giving a great deal of thought to my own personal and professional goals going forward, I am thrilled to tell you that an application from Dr. Gordon Mills and me to serve as co-directors of our new Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy (IPCT) has been approved by our Provost, Dr. DuBois. Having a leadership role in launching the IPCT returns me to my roots. Beginning in 1980, I have worked at three great institutions pioneering targeted therapy against the products of genes that cause cancer. It has been a fabulous three decades of progress in this field. Today we are at the threshold of being able to provide truly personalized therapy for the cancer patients we serve at MD Anderson. The opportunity to help make this giant leap forward is truly the culmination of my life-long dream.


Looking back, I am most proud of the vision we put forth together: "We shall be the premier cancer center in the world based on the excellence of our people, our research-driven patient care and our science." Indeed, our combined efforts have propelled us to the number one ranking among hospitals for cancer care in the United States -- building on our existing strengths and aiming for ever-higher excellence in everything we do.


Together we have made enormous advances in each of our mission areas. Working with our faculty, administrators and all employees and with our many volunteers and supporters in the community has been an incredible experience for me. I was excited the first day I arrived at MD Anderson in the summer of 1996, and have never stopped enjoying that feeling of stimulation and anticipation, every single day since.


Thank you for your commitment to MD Anderson's mission and to the patients we are privileged to serve. And thank you for the tremendous cooperation and encouragement I've received as your President, and which I'll continue to need to succeed with Dr. Mills in our new assignment.


I look forward to seeing many of you in the months ahead and having other opportunities to share my thoughts and express my admiration and affection for all of you who are truly Making Cancer History.


With my greatest respect,


John Mendelsohn, M.D.