Tag Archives: arizona health sciences center

health

Arizona Telemedicine Program names advisory board

The award-winning Arizona Telemedicine Program (ATP) at the Arizona Health Sciences Center of the University of Arizona has announced the appointment of the National Advisory Board of the Telemedicine and Telehealth Service Provider Showcase (SPSSM), to be held Oct. 6-7 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix.

The 24 nationally recognized thought leaders and health-care innovators have made major strides in the telemedicine arena. Members of the board are:

• Joseph S. Alpert, MD, professor of medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson; editor-in-chief, The American Journal of Medicine

• David C. Balch, MA, chief technology officer, White House Medical Group, Washington, D.C.

• Rashid Bashshur, PhD, senior adviser for eHealth, eHealth Center, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor

• Anne E. Burdick, MD, MPH, associate dean for telehealth and clinical outreach, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

• Robert “Bob” Burns, commissioner, Arizona Corporation Commission, Phoenix

• Daniel J. Derksen, MD, director, Center for Rural Health; professor of public health policy; University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, Tucson

• Charles R. Doarn, MBA, editor-in-chief, Telemedicine and e-Health Journal, family medicine, University of Cincinnati, Ohio

• Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, MD, UA senior vice president for health sciences; interim dean, UA College of Medicine – Tucson; professor of medicine, Arizona Health Sciences Center, University of Arizona

• Robert A. Greenes, MD, PhD, professor of biomedical informatics, College of Health Solutions, Arizona State University, Phoenix

• Paula Guy, chief executive officer, Global Partnership for Telehealth, Inc., Waycross, Ga.

• Deb LaMarche, associate director, Utah Telehealth Network, Salt Lake City

• James P. Marcin, MD, MPH, professor, pediatric critical care, University of California – Davis Children’s Hospital, Sacramento

• Ronald C. Merrell, MD, editor-in-chief, Telemedicine and e-Health Journal, emeritus professor of surgery, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond

• Thomas S. Nesbitt, MD, MPH, associate vice chancellor and professor, family and community medicine, University of California – Davis Health System, Sacramento

• Marta J. Petersen, MD, medical director, Utah Telehealth Network, Salt Lake City

• Joseph Peterson, MD, chief executive officer and director, Specialists On Call, Reston, Va.

• Ronald K. Poropatich, MD, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh

• Lisa A. Robin, MLA, chief advocacy officer, Federation of State Medical Boards, Washington, D.C.

• Brian Rosenfeld, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer, Philips Telehealth, Baltimore, Md.

• Jay H. Shore, MD, MPH, associate professor, Centers for American Indian & Alaska Native Health, University of Colorado, Aurora

• Joseph A. Tracy, MS, vice president, telehealth services, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Allentown, Pa.

• Wesley Valdes, DO, medical director, Telehealth Services, Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City, Utah

• Nancy L. Vorhees, RN, MSN, chief operating officer, Inland Northwest Health Services, Spokane, Wash.

• Jill M. Winters, PhD, RN, FAHA, president and dean, Columbia College of Nursing, Glendale, Wisc.

“This is the first national meeting addressing telemedicine service provider issues. It’s long overdue!” said Ronald S. Weinstein, MD, ATP director and SPS honorary co-chair.

SPS will focus on building partnerships for bringing quality medical specialty services directly into hospitals, clinics, private practices and even patients’ homes. The goals are to improve patient care and outcomes and to increase market share for both health-care providers and telehealth service providers they partner with.

The convention is co-hosted by the ATP, the Southwest Telehealth Resource Center and the Four Corners Telehealth Consortium, which includes the Arizona Health Sciences Center at the University of Arizona, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and the Utah Telehealth Network.

More information about SPS is at www.TTSPSworld.com.

bioscience

Renowned Bioinformatician Joins UA

Yves A. Lussier, MD, FAMCI, a professional engineer and physician-scientist who conducts research in translational bioinformatics and personal genomics, has joined the Arizona Health Sciences Center at the University of Arizona.

Dr. Lussier will serve as UA professor of medicine; associate vice president for health sciences and chief knowledge officer for AHSC; associate director for cancer informatics and precision health for the University of Arizona Cancer Center; and associate director, BIO5 informatics, for the UA BIO5 Institute. He assumed his new duties Dec. 2.

Dr. Lussier is an international expert in translational bioinformatics and a pioneer in research informatics techniques including systems biology, data representation through ontologies and high-throughput methods in personalized medicine. At the UA, he will lead efforts to fully develop novel programs in biomedical informatics, computational genomics and precision health. Dr. Lussier will provide critical leadership in efforts to advance precision health approaches to health outcomes and healthcare delivery and in the development of big data analytical tools and resource services in support of the University’s clinical research and service missions.

“I’m extremely pleased to have Yves join the University of Arizona,” said Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, MD, UA senior vice president for health sciences. “Yves and his team of computational specialists bring much needed expertise and program capacity in informatics, sequence analysis, genomic annotation and computational biology that will accelerate translational research activity across campus and throughout the state.”

Anne E. Cress, PhD, interim director of the UA Cancer Center, noted that “the integration of genomics with clinical information is the key to innovative approaches to provide ‘tomorrow’s medicine today’ for cancer patients. The addition of Dr. Lussier to the Cancer Center will greatly strengthen our clinical research efforts in cancer informatics and the delivery of personalized treatment plans.”

Fernando D. Martinez, MD, director of the UA BIO5 Institute, shared his enthusiasm for Dr. Lussier’s recruitment. “Informatics bridges the five core disciplines – agriculture, engineering, medicine, pharmacy and science – of BIO5. Dr. Lussier and his team will advance the Institute’s interdisciplinary, collaborative research efforts to successfully create solutions to the grand biological challenges.”

Dr. Lussier comes to UA from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where he was professor of medicine, bioengineering and biopharmaceutical sciences, and assistant vice president for health affairs and chief research information officer for the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System. Prior to his tenure at UIC, Dr. Lussier was associate director of informatics for the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center as well as co-director of biomedical informatics for the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA)-funded Institute for Translational Medicine (2006-2011). From 2001-2006, Dr. Lussier was an assistant professor in the Departments of Biomedical Informatics and Medicine at Columbia University in New York.

Dr. Lussier’s research interests focus on the use of ontologies, knowledge technologies and genomic network model to accurately individualize the treatment of disease and to repurpose therapies. He has National Institutes of Health funding for a clinical trial that repositioned a combination therapy, he also bioinformatically predicted and obtained biological confirmation of several novel tumor suppressor microRNAs, including the first one underpinning the oligo- vs poly- metastasis development of cancer.

His research has been featured in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He has authored 130 publications and delivered more than 100 invited presentations in precision medicine, systems medicine and translational bioinformatics, including 14 opening conference keynotes.

A Fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics, Dr. Lussier is a member of numerous governance, technology transfer, scientific and editorial boards, including the American Medical Informatics Association, International Society for Computational Biology, Society for Clinical and Translational Science, American Society for Cancer Research, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, American Association for the Advancement of Science and American Society for Human Genetics.

health.education

UA Cancer Center Director Earns Title

David S. Alberts, MD, director of the University of Arizona Cancer Center from 2005-2013, has been granted the director emeritus title by the Arizona Health Sciences Center.

The title is retroactive to July 1 and will accompany his current title of Regents Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology, Nutritional Science and Public Health. Anne Cress, PhD, was named interim director of the UA Cancer Center on July 19.

“Your career at the University of Arizona has been more than distinguished, and your years of service to advancing our institution is much appreciated,” said Joe G. N. “Skip” Garcia, MD, UA senior vice president for health sciences, in a letter addressed to Dr. Alberts on Oct. 4. “We value the renown and prestige you have built for the Cancer Center, and thank you for your dedication and leadership. The passion by which you have served is evident to all.”

Under Dr. Alberts’ leadership, the extensive research portfolio of the UA Cancer Center includes more than $60 million in annual research funding. Clinically, Dr. Alberts pioneered new treatments for advanced ovarian cancers, including in vitro tumor cell chemosensitivity testing for personalized medicine strategies, intraperitoneal chemotherapy and maintenance chemotherapy.

Currently, Dr. Alberts helps to coordinate Phase I and II and pharmacokinetic drug studies at the UA Cancer Center for molecularly targeted chemopreventive agents. His laboratory research is concentrated on the evaluation of new surrogate endpoint biomarkers for cancer prevention trials. His National Cancer Institute-funded drug and diagnostics research has resulted in more than two dozen patents and the co-founding of five Arizona pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

During his career, Dr. Alberts has served as an advisor to numerous cancer research foundations and committees, such as chair of the Oncologic Drug Advisory Committee to the Food and Drug Administration (1984-1986). And he was a member of the NCI’s Board of Counselors (to the Division of Cancer Prevention, 1990-1994), the Board of Scientific Advisors (1999-2006), and the coordinating subcommittee to the NCI’s Clinical Translational Advisory Committee (2006-2009).

Dr. Alberts has authored or co-authored more than 550 peer-reviewed publications, more than 100 book chapters and 60 invited articles, and has served as editor and co-editor of eight books. He has served on the editorial boards of several peer-reviewed scientific journals, including associate editor for Cancer Research from 1989-2002. Between 2002-2008, he acted as the co-editor-in-chief of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, the leading cancer public health research journal worldwide.

Dr. Alberts received his MD in 1966 from University of Virginia School of Medicine. He conducted his internship at the University of Wisconsin, before becoming a clinical associate in medical oncology at the National Cancer Institute’s Baltimore Cancer Research Center. Dr. Alberts conducted his internal medicine residency at the University of Minnesota and then served on the faculty of the University of California, San Francisco, for five years and obtained board certification in medicine and medical oncology in 1973. He joined the UA College of Medicine in 1975 as an assistant professor, where he has served for 38 years.

 

Cancer research and treatment are coming of age in Arizona

Cancer Research And Treatment Are Coming Of Age In Arizona

The Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson is one of two NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in Arizona. Photo: The Arizona Health Sciences Center at the University of Arizona in Tucson

Cancer Conquerors:

There was a time when a diagnosis of cancer almost always meant death. But advances in cancer research and treatment have greatly improved cancer patients’ chances of survival. Throughout the Valley and Arizona, cancer centers touting new technologies and treatments are helping the state become one of the nation’s leaders in the fight against the disease.

“With these various models … it is raising the quality of cancer treatment for everybody in the Valley (and state)” says Dr. Michael Etzl Jr., director of the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and co-director of the neuro-oncology program at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Comprehensive Care Centers
Since 1976, the Arizona Cancer Center at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson has been a pioneer in the fight against cancer. Designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as one of just two Comprehensive Cancer Centers in Arizona, the facility serves the entire state.

“Because of our Comprehensive Cancer Center status, our emphasis on research and our role as part of an academic medical center, we can offer our patients the opportunity to be part of clinical trials, to be treated with newly developed drugs specifically for their particular disease,” says Dr. David S. Alberts, director of the Arizona Cancer Center.

The only other NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in Arizona is the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Scottsdale.

“Mayo’s unique approach to health care is a team approach, with many health care providers working to provide comprehensive diagnosis and treatment in more than 65 adult medical and surgical specialties,” says Dr. Rafael Fonseca, deputy director of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and site director in Arizona.

Clinical Trials and Research
Research and clinical trials are the critical basis for innovations in cancer treatment. Arizona is able to position itself as a leader in cancer treatment because of the research and clinical trials its hospitals and centers host.

“It is a documented fact that the best cancer care can only occur at centers where clinical trials are being conducted,” Fonseca says.

The Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson has an annual research budget of more than $78 million, operates 60 research labs and enrolls more than 1,700 participants in clinical trials each year.

In the Valley, Scottsdale Healthcare also offers cancer patients cutting edge clinical trials by being a clinical research site for the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). Through a strategic alliance between Scottsdale Healthcare and TGen, eligible patients can take part in phase I or phase II studies at TGen’s Clinical Research Services clinic, located within the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center.

Since 2005, more than 60 phase I (first-in-human) cancer trials have been conducted through TGen Clinical Research Services at Scottsdale Healthcare. Approximately 250-300 new patients participate in other phase I trials every year through the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center.

In a field vastly different from that of adult cancer, Phoenix Children’s is the only hospital in the state to offer pediatric phase I, phase II and phase III trials.

“In pediatric oncology, without the clinical research component of it you really don’t provide cutting-edge treatment,” Etzl says.

Approximately 60 to 70 percent of cancer patients at Phoenix Children’s are on clinical trials.

Pioneering Programs
Along with its research and clinical trials, Phoenix Children’s Hospital prides itself on having a “strong, family-centered, comprehensive program” for young cancer patients, Etzl says.

One of the hospital’s numerous programs includes Child Life, which works to ease a child’s pain and worry about being in a hospital. Through the program, procedures are explained to children as part of an overall effort to make a young cancer patient’s life as normal as possible.

The cancer center at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Downtown Phoenix hosts programs ranging from nutritional support to quality-of-life care that focus on a blend of medical, holistic and emotional support systems.

Meanwhile, an initiative at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center that is open to all cancer patients — regardless of where they’re receiving treatment — is the cancer care coordinator program. It’s comprised of experienced oncology nurses who act as personal advocates for cancer patients by answering questions, clarifying procedures and more.

Collaboration and Partnerships
Dr. Mark A. Slater, vice president of research for Scottsdale Healthcare and the Scottsdale Clinical Research Institute at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center, says that with so much cancer treatment and research taking place in the Valley and state, it’s important to “work together to fight cancer and not duplicate each other (and) instead complement each other.”

The Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center continues to expand its alliance with TGen. The center recently announced it will be one of three clinical research sites in the U.S. to participate in a three-year investigation into new ways to treat pancreatic cancer.

Since 2002, the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and Phoenix Children’s have worked together on the Valley’s first pediatric blood-and-marrow transplant program.

“Prior to 2002, if a (Phoenix Children’s) patient needed a transplant, the patient and his or her family had to leave the Phoenix area, often for months at a time, to seek care,” Fonseca of Mayo says.

Today, the two institutions have successfully forged a strong relationship that helps patients young and old. “The program has grown exponentially,” Fonseca says. “This year we will perform approximately 120 transplants.”

The Future
As the next phase of cancer care makes its way to the state, one new option for patients is the Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Western Regional Medical Center in Goodyear, which opened in December 2008. Cancer Treatment Centers of America has other locations in Chicago, Philadelphia and Tulsa, Okla.

The center in Phoenix is the first in the country to be 100-percent digital, with a fully electronic health record system designed specifically to support Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s unique model of care.

“The (electronic health record system) is one part of our comprehensive IT platforms designed to maximize patient care. Cancer patients will benefit from greater efficiency created by real-time access to patient data and more,” says David Veillette, president and CEO of Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Western Regional Medical Center.

Another option coming online in a few years will be the M.D. Anderson Banner Cancer Center on the campus of Banner Gateway Medical Center in the East Valley. The recently announced collaboration between the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center is Banner’s largest ever, with a scheduled opening of 2011.

“Cancer treatment will be needed more, naturally, as a result of more people moving into the Valley and the state,” says Bill Byron, a spokesperson for Banner Health. “The M. D. Anderson Banner Cancer Center will be a prominent institution that many will choose.”

Along with new technology, research and treatments, each cancer center in the state offers patients perhaps the most potent medicine of all — hope.

“We foresee a future where cancer will be like infectious diseases — most of the time curable,” Fonseca says.

www.azcc.arizona.edu | www.mayoclinic.org/scottsdale | www.cancercenter.com | www.phoenixchildrens.com | www.stjosephs-phx.org | www.shc.org | www.mdanderson.org | www.bannerhealth.com