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DIRECTOR'S MESSAGE
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“We know that ending cancer for good requires the involvement of a whole team of different expertise and perspectives, and that the engagement of our patients and community is critical to our success as a cancer center.”
Anil K. Rustgi, MD
Herbert and Florence Irving Director, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
Herbert and Florence Irving Professor of Medicine, Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University
Chief, Cancer Service, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Anil K. Rustgi, MD Herbert and Florence Irving Director,
Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
Herbert and Florence Irving Professor of Medicine,
Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University
Chief, Cancer Service, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University
Irving Medical Center
Anil K. Rustgi, MD Herbert and Florence Irving Director, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center Herbert and Florence Irving Professor of Medicine, Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University Chief, Cancer Service, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center
“We know that ending cancer for good requires the involvement of a whole team of different expertise and perspectives, and that the engagement of our patients and community is critical to our success as a cancer center.”
Anil K. Rustgi, MD
Herbert and Florence Irving Director,
Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center
Herbert and Florence Irving Professor of Medicine,
Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University
Chief, Cancer Service,
NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center
I am thrilled to share with you this year’s annual report, which highlights the remarkable work of our members in advancing cancer research and care. This year, we are sharing the ways that our researchers, clinicians, trainees, and patients are pushing new frontiers in cancer outside of the traditional spaces of the clinic and laboratories.
In February, we launched the Irving Cancer Drug Discovery program, which will provide critical infrastructure and support for faculty as they work to make the leap from lab discovery to new therapies or diagnostics for cancer. Our first four projects for this incubator program were selected in June, and we are excited to watch them progress.
Earlier this year, we built on an initiative that works to solve one of the most pressing issues in cancer research today, improving diversity and representation in clinical trials. While the HICCC is fortunate to be in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in New York City and has a significantly higher underrepresented minority enrollment rate in clinical trials than the national average, we aim to serve as a model in this space to all cancer centers and related centers across the United States. This initiative works to reduce health disparities by increasing the participation of underrepresented minorities in clinical trials and enhancing the diversity of clinical researchers.
We have also launched five new initiatives as a part of our strategic plan, emerging from our four core programs, which change how we traditionally look at cancer, harnessing the expertise of researchers across basic, translational, clinical and population sciences to develop new ways to understand cancer and find new ways to stop it in its tracks. These initiatives will provide us with the most comprehensive understanding of cancer—how it begins, how it progresses, and ultimately, how to treat and even prevent it.
We know that ending cancer for good requires the involvement of a whole team of different expertise and perspectives, and that the engagement of our patients and community is critical to our success as a cancer center. We are excited to continue to push our work ‘beyond the bench,’ bringing new discoveries to where they matter most—our patients, families and communities.
Anil K. Rustgi, MD
Herbert and Florence Irving Director, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center Herbert and Florence Irving Professor of Medicine, Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University Chief, Cancer Service, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center
I am thrilled to share with you this year’s annual report, which highlights the remarkable work of our members in advancing cancer research and care. This year, we are sharing the ways that our researchers, clinicians, trainees, and patients are pushing new frontiers in cancer outside of the traditional spaces of the clinic and laboratories.
In February, we launched the Irving Cancer Drug Discovery program, which will provide critical infrastructure and support for faculty as they work to make the leap from lab discovery to new therapies or diagnostics for cancer. Our first four projects for this incubator program were selected in June, and we are excited to watch them progress.
Earlier this year, we built on an initiative that works to solve one of the most pressing issues in cancer research today, improving diversity and representation in clinical trials. While the HICCC is fortunate to be in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in New York City and has a significantly higher underrepresented minority enrollment rate in clinical trials than the national average, we aim to serve as a model in this space to all cancer centers and related centers across the United States. This initiative works to reduce health disparities by increasing the participation of underrepresented minorities in clinical trials and enhancing the diversity of clinical researchers.
We have also launched five new initiatives as a part of our strategic plan, emerging from our four core programs, which change how we traditionally look at cancer, harnessing the expertise of researchers across basic, translational, clinical and population sciences to develop new ways to understand cancer and find new ways to stop it in its tracks. These initiatives will provide us with the most comprehensive understanding of cancer—how it begins, how it progresses, and ultimately, how to treat and even prevent it.
We know that ending cancer for good requires the involvement of a whole team of different expertise and perspectives, and that the engagement of our patients and community is critical to our success as a cancer center. We are excited to continue to push our work ‘beyond the bench,’ bringing new discoveries to where they matter most—our patients, families and communities.
Anil K. Rustgi, MD
Herbert and Florence Irving Director, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center Herbert and Florence Irving Professor of Medicine, Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University Chief, Cancer Service, NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Edward Bentlyewski, MSN, assistant director of clinical research nursing and quality assurance at HICCC
The good news is that most, if not all, of these barriers are surmountable.
For Walker, who serves on the HICCC’s patient advocacy board, it all starts with building community trust. “First, we must acknowledge and address the ‘elephant in the room’—the past mistreatment of minoritized people by the health care system,” she says. “Education is also critical. We have to reach out to people and explain why it’s important for them to be involved in studies and how each patient can personally benefit from trials.”
Shahnaz Singh-Kandah (center), oncology research nurse practitioner and hosted a panel including patient advocates Desiree Walker (left) and Michael Furman (right) as a part of the HICCC diversity in clinical trials training program.