August 2011 Archives

A First Look: Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center

73057-lantern-lavendar-small.gifMD Anderson opens its first full clinical extension outside Texas in Gilbert, near Phoenix, Arizona. The relationship with Banner Health brings new hope to cancer patients in the region.

After more than two years of development and construction, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center is getting ready to open its doors in Gilbert, Ariz., near Phoenix.

But you don't have to wait until Monday, Sept. 26, when it formally opens to the public, to see what it looks like.

Watch a video tour of the new facility and see what sets it apart from cancer treatment facilities anywhere else in the world, with the exception of MD Anderson, after which is modeled, of course.

Mirroring Outstanding Clinical Care

The three-story, 133,000-square-foot outpatient oncology center is located at the Banner Gateway Medical Center complex and directed by Edgardo Rivera, M.D.

Hear both Rivera and Thomas Burke, M.D., executive vice president and physician in chief for MD Anderson, discuss the benefits of this partnership in the video.

Referring Physicians Advisory Board Launched

MD Anderson physicians have a new way to get feedback from the doctors who refer patients to them.

The Referring Physician Advisory Board was formed this spring at the direction of President John Mendelsohn, M.D.  It's made up of referring physicians from around Houston and surrounding counties who want to see that their patients get seamless care when they come to MD Anderson.

The board sets its own agenda, and MD Anderson's Physician Relations team facilitates meetings where the board's concerns can be heard. If the board wants to look at how patients are referred to Phase I clinical trials, for example, Physician Relations can bring in institutional experts with answers. If the board has an idea for improvement, the meetings can provide a forum for discussions with physicians here.

"The purpose of the advisory board is to enable us to hear directly about the needs, concerns, and expectations of our referring colleagues in Houston and surrounding areas," Mendelsohn says. 

Lyle Green, associate vice president for Physician Relations, says the advisory board's activities will complement the work of the Physician Relations Faculty Advisory Board, formed in December 2009 so that faculty could have input into the work and priorities of the Physician Relations program. Ultimately, the two boards can together develop new collaborative strategies and working relationships that will improve cancer care in our communities. 

For more information, contact Yvonne Bazunu, program manager, Physician Relations, at 713-745-8385.

From the Chair, Peter C. Hu, Ph.D.

119217_Hu_P_blog.jpgHello everyone!  As I near the end of my first term as the Chair of the Alumni & Faculty Association at MD Anderson Cancer Center, I thought this would be a good time to reflect on the many activities we have sponsored over the past year. 

Our first activity was the fall cycle of the Trainee Excellence Awards in which eight trainees were recognized in the month of August for their high caliber research.  These eight trainees were amongst the many that entered.  Also around this time, we received a generous donation by the Mike Hogg Fund from which two students in the School of Health Professions each received a $1,000 scholarship. 

In addition to this donation, through our fundraising campaign, we received two additional gifts: one from Dr. Ed Diaz, VP, Global Clinical Programs and the other from Dr. Raymond Sawaya, Chair of Neurosurgery to help fund other scholarships and activities.

During the month of November, Dr. Elena Martinez was recognized with the 2010 Distinguished Alumnus Award.  Dr. Martinez gave a marvelous presentation on "Colorectal Cancer Prevention:  Opportunities for a Fruitful and Challenging Career" to a packed crowed in the Hickey Auditorium.  It was also during this time that the Alumni & Faculty Association unveiled the Alumni Tribute Display located on the 3rd floor of the Pickens Academic Tower.  This permanent wall display lists of the names of alumni donors and friends who have made a gift of $5,000 or more, along with a brief biography of the current Distinguished Alumnus Award winner.

In January, 2011, Dr. Mario R. Capecchi, who was the 2010 Mike Hogg award recipient, visited MD Anderson Cancer Center and delivered an inspirational lecture, not only to a packed Hickey Auditorium, but also to a packed overflow room.  The Mike Hogg Lectureship is the most prestigious at MD Anderson Cancer Center. 

When spring came, the Alumni & Faculty Association once again was busy with activities.  First, it was the spring announcement of the Trainee Excellence Award winners of which 4 trainee abstracts were chosen to receive this award.  Our second activity was the participation at this year's American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting in Orlando, FL where we hosted a recruitment booth, a general session booth, and a reception on behalf of MD Anderson.  All of these events were very well attended. 

In May, the annual Trainee Research Day was yet another smashing hit as over 250 research abstracts were submitted this year in all categories of trainees from undergraduate, graduates, postdoctoral fellows, and clinical fellows.  Awards ranging from $100 to $1000 were given to winning abstracts and posters and were sponsored by AMGEN, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Bayer Health Care Pharmaceuticals, and the MD Anderson Alumni & Faculty Association.

Heading into the summer months, in July, we held our annual Trainee Lecture that will hereafter be named the Stephen P. Tomasovic Trainee Lecture in recognition of his tireless efforts in education for all students and educational trainees at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
What started off for the Alumni & Faculty Association will end this fiscal year with the spring Trainee Excellence Awards.  The submission deadline has just passed and the next round of winners will be announced in August. 

We look forward to another productive year in 2011-2012 under the new leadership of Dr. Ronald DePinho and we extend a big "Thanks" to all of those individuals who have continuously supported the Alumni & Faculty Association throughout the years.

For the fifth straight year, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is the leading hospital in the nation for cancer care, according to the "Best Hospitals" survey published annually by U.S. News & World Report magazine.


HOUSTON -- For the fifth straight year, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center is the leading hospital in the nation for cancer care, according to the "Best Hospitals" survey published annually by U.S. News & World Report magazine.

With this top ranking, MD Anderson has been rated number one eight times in the past decade. Since the survey began 22 years ago, the institution has been named one of the top two hospitals for cancer in the United States.

MD Anderson's
gynecology service jumped to the number six position in its subspecialty ranking this year, up five slots from last year. Other subspecialties earning national rankings were ear, nose and throat (#6); urology (#10); gastroenterology (#22); diabetes and endocrinology (#28). In a separate survey of pediatric hospitals, released in May, MD Anderson's Children's Cancer Hospital was ranked number 15 nationally.

MD Anderson also ranked number three among
Houston metropolitan area hospitals in the survey. The magazine's metro rankings, which debuted last year, were ordered by a hospital's number of nationally ranked specialties and then by the number of other specialties in which it was among the top 25 percent nationally.

"This top national ranking acknowledges the signature care that our 18,000 employees deliver - and advance - every day," said
Thomas W. Burke, M.D., executive vice president and physician-in-chief.  "We're honored to have our innovative patient care, nursing, clinical trials, research, supportive care and outreach programs recognized among so many great cancer centers in the nation, and our faculty, staff and volunteers share this accolade with our patients who inspire us all every day."

The annual "Best Hospitals" rankings are based on a complex mix of
criteria that includes key technologies, nurse-to-patient staffing ratios and the availability of patient services such as genetic testing/counseling, translation services, wound management, palliative care and others. The methodology also weighs reputation with board-certified physicians from around the nation, disease outcomes and patient safety.

Acknowledging Quality
One of the components that contributes to MD Anderson's top national ranking is
Magnet designation, an international measure of nursing excellence. Last year, MD Anderson earned its third consecutive Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Less than seven percent of U.S. hospitals are Magnet-recognized, according to the American Hospital Association, and only about 375 hospitals worldwide carry Magnet designation. MD Anderson earned its first Magnet designation in 2001, and is one of the original 50 charter hospitals bearing the seal.

Last November,
MD Anderson was accredited by The Joint Commission, an independent not-for-profit organization that certifies health care organizations' patient care programs against rigorous performance standards.  MD Anderson has been consistently accredited by The Joint Commission since 1951.

Expanding Upward....
MD Anderson's opened its inpatient hospital expansion in January, complementing the quality care that 105,000 patients received the past year, and preparing the institution for increased demand for services.

eight-story expansion of the Albert B. and Margaret M. Alkek Hospital opened in January with three new inpatient floors.  The new units have cut-through corridors and individual work stations outside patient rooms so nurses can have better, faster access to patients.  They also feature work areas where interdisciplinary teams can review and discuss patients' care plans. Patient rooms are spacious with a large picture window, private bathroom, cozy sitting area and pull-out bed for family members and visitors. The new rooms each have two large flat-screen televisions, a computer work desk and Internet service. The five remaining floors of the new tower will be built out for future patient care needs.

...and Outward
To provide additional, convenient services in the greater Houston area, MD Anderson has expanded into four regional care centers in
The Woodlands, Bay Area (Nassau Bay), Sugar Land and Katy.  Each center offers radiation and medical oncology care, outpatient chemotherapy, clinical trials and support services such as pain management, nutrition and social work; three of the four centers offer surgical services.  The regional care centers are growing rapidly with plans to add even more specialized clinical programs and services in the coming year.

This year, MD Anderson celebrates the
70th anniversary of its creation as a part of The University of Texas System.  Since opening its doors to patients in 1944, more than 800,000 patients have turned to MD Anderson for care.  Last year, nearly 10,000 registrants enrolled in MD Anderson clinical trials, which spur new discoveries for cancer patients across the globe.