David H. Koch Center Opens at MSKCC, Sidney Kimmel Welcomes Usama Gergis, and more

Patrick White, MD

Patrick White Appointed Chair in Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care

Patrick White, MD, director of the Division of Palliative Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and chief medical officer of BJC Hospice, has been named the university’s inaugural Stokes Family Endowed Chair in Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care. Dr. White also leads Evelyn’s House, a pediatric and adult hospice house on the BJC Hospice campus, overseeing more than 650 clinicians who care for approximately 11,000 patients each year.

Dr. White, whose clinical research focuses on helping to reduce nausea and pain in patients with advanced cancer, has received NIH funding for two initiatives related to palliative and supportive care for patients nearing the end of life.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to hold the Stokes chair and to work with such fine clinicians at Washington University and BJC as we all attempt to improve the management of patient symptoms and to enhance the support available to these very sick patients and their families,” Dr. White said.

Source: Washington University School of Medicine press release, December 17, 2019.

Elizabeth McCormick, RN

David H. Koch Center Opens at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

In January, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) celebrated the opening of the David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care, a $1.5 billion, state-of-the-art cancer treatment facility in New York City.

The new center is MSKCC’s and the city’s largest freestanding cancer care facility, with 1,300 employees caring for up to 1,300 patients daily. The 25-floor center will give patients access to services across numerous specialties, including hematology/oncology, dermatology, interventional radiology, pulmonary, endocrine, head and neck, and thoracic cancers.

“The vision for the David H. Koch Center for Cancer Care… is to create a caring
and healing community where all are engaged, embraced, and empowered,” said Elizabeth McCormick, RN, Chief Nursing Officer of MSKCC. “That includes the patients we care for, the caregivers at their side, and our researchers, clinicians, and staff who work together in our united mission of conquering cancer.”

The late David H. Koch, member of the MSK Boards of Overseers and Managers, donated $150 million to the center.

Source: Memorial Sloan Kettering press release, December 10, 2019.

Usama Gergis, MD, MBA

Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Welcomes Usama Gergis

Usama Gergis, MD, MBA, will join the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center – Jefferson Health (SKCC) as Director of the Bone Marrow Transplant and Immune Cellular Therapy Program, as well as Professor in the Department of Medical Oncology, Division of Hematologic Malignancies.

Previously, Dr. Gergis spent 12 years at Weill Cornell Medical College, specializing in high-risk myeloid malignancies, graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), and hematopoietic cell transplantation for patients who lack matched donors. He studied at Cairo University School of Medicine in Egypt, completed an internal medicine residency and hematology/oncology fellowship at the Brooklyn Hospital of Weill Cornell, and completed a bone marrow transplant fellowship at Moffitt Cancer Center. In addition, he earned an MBA from Cornell University’s SC Johnson School of Management.

“We are exceptionally pleased to have recruited Dr. Gergis to lead our Bone Marrow Transplant and Cell-Based Therapy Program. This is the dawn of a new era of cancer therapy, with an increasingly accelerated pace of new cell-based interventions that provide superior outcomes,” said Karen E. Knudsen, MBA, PhD, Executive Vice President of Oncology Services at Jefferson Health and Enterprise Director of SKCC. “Dr. Gergis is a visionary leader who will bring new therapeutic options to cancer patients in the Philadelphia region.”

Source: SKCC press release, January 27, 2020.

Keith Sullivan, MD

Transplantation Pioneer Keith Sullivan Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

The American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy (ASTCT) has named Keith Sullivan, MD, the 2020 recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Currently, Dr. Sullivan serves as James B. Wyngaarden Distinguished Professor of Medicine at Duke University. For more than 20 years, he has been working on a project exploring how hematopoietic cell transplants can improve outcomes for patients living with autoimmune diseases. He has published research on late complications of allogenic marrow transplantation and chronic GVHD, which can induce sclerodermatous skin disease.

His work in the treatment of GVHD began at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where he spent 22 years. At Fred Hutch, Dr. Sullivan and his team developed a system of follow-up to evaluate and treat late complications of high-dose chemoradiotherapy and transplant. As medical director of the center’s outpatient department, he also conducted the first multicenter trial of bone marrow transplant for patients with severe sickle cell disease.

In the early 1990s, Dr. Sullivan helped to establish ASTCT (then known as the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, or ASBMT) alongside Richard Champlin, MD, and was its second president, tasked with starting the society’s journal, Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

Source: American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, December 13, 2019.