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Janet Woodcock, MD, Director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, has received the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes an individual who has had a significant career history of making ongoing contributions to patient safety and has had a major impact on safe medication practices.

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"Through all of these accomplishments, and many others, Janet Woodcock has helped ensure that FDA can fulfill its mission effectively. She has championed the use of innovative new tools and approaches, and she has forged and enriched many partnerships with industry, academia, healthcare providers, patients, and colleagues in government, including across the FDA," then-Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, MD, wrote on an FDA blog in December.

JANET WOODCOCK, MD. ... - Click to enlarge in new windowJANET WOODCOCK, MD. JANET WOODCOCK, MD

Woodcock has served the FDA since 1986 in several positions including as Director of the Office of Therapeutics Research and Review in the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, as well as Deputy Commissioner and Chief Medical Officer. She also conceived and oversaw the Adverse Event Reporting System, co-led the FDA task force on risk management, chaired the Council on Pharmaceutical Quality, and led the rollout of the Safe Use Initiative, the launch of Safety First, and the creation of the Sentinel Initiative. And in January, Woodcock launched the new Office of Pharmaceutical Quality and is now serving initially as Director.


Fabien Calvo, MD, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Paris Denis Diderot Medical School and a physician at Saint Louis Hospital in Paris, has been appointed Chief Scientific Officer of Cancer Core Europe. In the new role he will organize and coordinate activities for the new European organization, collaborating with the other scientific officers; and assisting the consortium in developing a global vision.


Calvo has expertise in the fields of genomics and the biology of metastatic disease, translational research, preclinical pharmacology, and early clinical trials in hematology and oncology. He has served as Deputy Director General of the National Cancer Institute of France, Director of the Cancer Multi-Organization Institute of the National Alliance for Life Sciences and Health, a Senior Registrar of Paris Hospitals, and a research associate of the National Cancer Institute in the U.S. He also helped launch the International Cancer Genoma Consortium in 2008.

FABIEN CALVO, MD, PH... - Click to enlarge in new windowFABIEN CALVO, MD, PHD. FABIEN CALVO, MD, PHD

Cancer Core Europe, launched in July, is comprised of six cancer centers in Europe. The goal is to develop a common structure for research and health care to accelerate the development of new cancer treatments and precision medicine. A key objective of the consortium is the creation of a virtual single "e-hospital," a powerful translational platform that integrates all patient files using a common software platform that federates the database from each of the centers.


Laurie T. Krug, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Stony Brook University, has been named the Stony Brook University Discovery Prize Fellow, a philanthropically sponsored award established to fund high-risk, high-reward basic research projects. Krug researches herpes viruses associated with cancer and the idea of delivering molecular scissors to the site of virus infection using nanoparticles.


"We need to understand how these viruses set up shop in specific cells, and what makes them wake up after years of dormancy in our bodies," Krug said in a news release. "Our 'nanotools' will be a new approach to understanding how viruses cause disease."

LAURIE T. KRUG, PHD.... - Click to enlarge in new windowLAURIE T. KRUG, PHD. LAURIE T. KRUG, PHD

Krug and her collaborator Balaji Sitharaman, PhD, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Stony Brook University, were awarded $200,000 to support their research; and additionally, three award finalists will each receive a $50,000 Discovery Fund award for their projects.


George Washington University Cancer Institute has received a $150,000 memorial gift to support its new Center for Patient Engagement from the now-closed Center for Advancing Health (CFAH), a nonprofit with the mission of increasing people's engagement in their health and health care by promoting greater understanding of the role of behavior on health to ending operations in December, CFAH reviewed proposals from several nonprofits to build upon the CFAH body of work and selected the CW Cancer Institute's proposal to establish the Center for Patient Engagement. In addition to the memorial gift, the GW Cancer Institute will receive numerous intellectual assets from CFAH.


"We are excited to launch the Center for Patient Engagement at the GW Cancer Institute," Mandi Pratt-Chapman, MA, Director of the GW Cancer Institute, said in a news release. "This gift will expand our focus on patient-centered care to create informed, engaged patients, and advocate for supportive health care systems."


The new Center will expand on the shared mission of the CFAH and the GW Cancer Institute to empower patients and advocate for quality care. Specifically, the funding will be used to: promote and disseminate "Be a Prepared Patient" materials, the AfterShock app, and CFAH resources to patients, public health practitioners, and health care professionals through webinars and the GW Cancer Institute's new resource repository; develop new resources that translate patient-centered outcomes research to create informed, engaged patients; and advocate for a more patient-centered health care system by voicing the patient perspective in policy forums.


Nipun B. Merchant, MD, has joined the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center as Chief Surgical Officer and Director of the Surgical Oncology Research Programs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and UHealth-University of Miami Health System. Merchant will also be Vice Chair of Surgical Oncologic Services and Academic Affairs within the Department of Surgery, a newly created position, and Chief of Surgical Oncology at University of Miami Hospital, as well as Chief Surgical Officer at UMHC/Sylvester. And he will serve as Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology.


"Nipun is one of those rare individuals who combines great clinical expertise, scientific insight and accomplishments, a track record of strong leadership, and the compassion and humility needed to be a world-class cancer physician-scientist," Sylvester Director Stephen D. Nimer, MD, said in a news release. "His pioneering work in pancreas cancer brings great hope to patients and families around the world."

NIPUN B. MERCHANT, M... - Click to enlarge in new windowNIPUN B. MERCHANT, MD. NIPUN B. MERCHANT, MD

Merchant specializes in gastrointestinal malignancies with a focus on pancreatic and hepatobiliary cancers. He was most recently at Vanderbilt University Medical Center as Director of the Vanderbilt Pancreas Center, Chief of GI Surgical Oncology, and Co-Leader of the GI Oncology Program at Vanderbilt-Ingram Comprehensive Cancer Center.


Victor Filadora, MD, MBA, has been named Chief of Clinical Services at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Filadora has served as an anesthesiologist at RPCI since 2003; and in the new role, he will be responsible for managing the comprehensive cancer center's Ambulatory Services, Perioperative Services, Sterile Processing, Pharmacy, Patient and Family Experience, Endoscopy Services, and Therapeutics Services programs.


He will also provide leadership and guidance to clinical department administrators throughout the Institute. Filadora will continue as Clinical Chief of Perioperative Medicine and Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education at Roswell Park, as well as Clinical Assistant Professor within the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Buffalo.


"Since we first recruited him to Roswell Park a decade ago to establish our preoperative services program, Dr. Filadora has led the design and implementation of several key clinical projects," Roswell Park President and CEO Candace Johnson, PhD, said in a news release. "His experience and his thoughtful, strategic, patient-centered approach make him an outstanding match for this new opportunity."


Jennifer Reese, PhD, has joined Fox Chase Cancer Center's Cancer Prevention and Control Program as Assistant Professor. Reese, a behavioral science researcher and licensed psychologist, will work on developing and evaluating interventions to improve sexual health and quality of life for cancer survivors.


"The program of research being conducted by Dr. Reese will address key understudied issues in cancer survivorship," Carolyn Fang, PhD, Co-Leader of the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at Fox Chase, said in a news release. "Her research on patient and provider training interventions to enhance communication may provide essential tools to assist health care professionals in initiating these discussions."


New York Medical College has announced it will launch a Master of Science in Medical Ethics program this fall. The course will use historical, philosophical, legal, and social-scientific approaches and models to address bioethical challenges. The new degree and certificate program will provide students with rigorous methodological and substantive training, emphasizing clinical medical ethics, compassionate care, religio-cultural competence, ethical implications pertaining to emerging technologies, and the different notions of justice that influence ideas of public health.


"Although health professional students are trained in the principles of ethics, there is a need to pursue additional training in medical ethics and the humanities, given the contemporary practice of medicine in an increasingly diverse society with more sophisticated uses of technology and novel treatments for disease," Jennifer L. Koestler, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education, said in a news release. "The program will give students the tools to navigate the interplay between the law and medicine and the high costs of medical care."


Ira Bedzow, PhD, will serve as Director of the program. He has a PhD in Religion from Emory University, a Master of Arts degree from University of Chicago, a Master of Arts degree from Touro's Graduate School of Jewish Studies, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University. He is an ordained Orthodox rabbi and the Senior Scholar at the Aspen Center for Social Values.


Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University in Detroit has received a $5.3 million grant from the Dresner Foundation, which will be distributed over the next five years and used to support research and services for patients with blood-related cancers. The grant will create an endowed chair position, help recruit scientists and fellowship positions, and establish a patient registry and tissue bank for blood-related cancers. It will also establish a Patient Assistance Fund to help low-income cancer patients with financial challenges during their care.

IRA BEDZOW, PHD. IRA... - Click to enlarge in new windowIRA BEDZOW, PHD. IRA BEDZOW, PHD

Charles A. Schiffer, MD, multidisciplinary team leader of Malignant Hematology at Karmanos Cancer Institute and Professor of Medicine and Oncology in the Department of Oncology at Wayne State University School of Medicine, will hold the first endowed Joseph Dresner Chair for Hematologic Malignancies. Schiffer specializes in leukemia, myelodysplasia, and transfusion supportive care, as well as other hematologic cancers.


The Dresner Foundation was established by the late Joseph and Vera Dresner to support health researchers and those dedicated to improving the quality and length of life for patients. Joseph Dresner was diagnosed with MDS in 2002 and was treated by Schiffer at Karmanos. This most recent grant, combined with personal giving from the Dresner family, brings their total giving to Karmanos to $10.4 million.


Dorothy 'Dottie' Thomas, 'Mother of Bone Marrow Transplantation,' Dies at 92

Dorothy 'Dottie' Thomas, wife and research partner to the late E. Donnall Thomas, MD, died in January at age 92. Don had died in 2012, also at 92 (OT 11/25/12 issue). The Thomases were part of the team of researchers whose work, which spanned several decades, proved that bone marrow transplantation could cure leukemias and other blood cancers.

DOROTHY DOTTIE THOMA... - Click to enlarge in new windowDOROTHY 'DOTTIE' THOMAS. DOROTHY 'DOTTIE' THOMAS (1922-2015)

"Dottie was there at Don's side through every part of developing marrow transplantation as a science," Fred Appelbaum, MD, Executive Vice President and Deputy Director of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, said in a news release. The Thomases worked at Fred Hutch from 1975 until Don's retirement in 2002.


"Besides raising three children together, Dottie was Don's partner in every aspect of his professional life, from working in the laboratory to editing manuscripts and administering his research program," Appelbaum said.


She was Chief Administrator for the Clinical Research Division at Fred Hutch for 15 years, and also managed Don's research programs, wrote grants, kept records on their bone marrow transplant patients, and helped write and edit Don's scientific papers.


"Dottie's life had a profound impact, not just on those who knew her personally, but also countless patients," Gary Gilliland, MD, PhD, Fred Hutch President and Director, said in a news release. "She and Don were amazing together in both what they accomplished and the way they cared for each other. They were so sweet together. Now their legacy continues through the many whose lives have been saved by bone marrow transplant and those who will be saved in the future. Dottie truly helped change the future of medicine."


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