Cancer Currents for December 2012

News and Notes from the Director
Photo: Mark Israel, Director of Norris Cotton Cancer Center

Greetings at the end of 2012! While every year here at NCCC seems better than the one before, 2012 has been outstanding. A genuine and heartfelt to thanks to everyone at NCCC who has advanced our understanding of cancer and contributed to a strategy to impact on the numerous problems and challenges that cancer provides. I am especially appreciative of your hard work in reaching out to others. Through collaboration and team work, we can address challenges no one of us alone could be successful at. This is a heck of a team!

Here are some of the many ways the Cancer Center team succeeded in 2012 -

Operation ICE is the second of three planned efforts to Improve NCCC Cycle Efficiency addressing challenges within NCCC clinic and infusion suite operations. This project to improve the patient experience in our infusion suite was prompted by nurses and has resulted in a very different way to organize work in the infusion area. This process has been so successful that it was featured in the e-Learning Modules as an example of the Value Institute.

Our clinicians are exceptionally talented and caring people. This year, Konstantin Dragnev, MD was nominated by his peers for the Schwartz Center Compassionate Caregiver Award. As a finalist for this national award he was honored at a banquet in Boston for 2,000 people!

We said farewell to Michael Ward after 20+ years at D-H, many of those as VP for Cancer Services. Though it was nerve-wracking to imagine a week without Michael at the helm, Linda Metcalf, Amy Stansfield, and Dave Nalepinski did a terrific job keeping the clinic on track.

Nashua Grand Opening

The Prouty Team whipped the whole region and beyond into a swirl of excitement like only The Prouty can do and with 5,000+ participants, and 1,000+ volunteers, they raised over $2.5M for cancer support services and research.

The outstanding new facility in Nashua opened to great fanfare proving that Exit 8 is the place for healthcare in southern New Hampshire.

Susan DiStasio joined the Team as administrative director of nursing with her calm demeanor and broad experience has integrated the practice of nursing at a service line level and brought inpatient and outpatient caregivers together.

We have reached the final stages of our yearlong Strategic Planning process and expect to have a finalized plan in the first quarter of 2013.

GMMR 2012Philanthropy to the Cancer Center continues to grow, from stalwart supporters of our Green Mountain Motorcycle Ride breaking all records in their 10th year, to youth sports teams all over the Upper Valley, to the Harpoon Octoberfest Road Race in Windsor, VT, and to the Monarch's 'Mullets in Movember' hockey game raising awareness of men's cancers at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, N.H. And these are but a few of the wonderful community events this Fall that raised funds for our Cancer Center.

In April, scientists and physicians gathered at the Dartmouth Skiway for our Scientific Retreat about team science. The presentations were breathtaking and not even a power outage could stop the flow of ideas.

Healing with ArtArt exhibited through the Friends of Norris Cotton Cancer Center's Healing with Arts program adorns the Manchester and Nashua clinics and the waiting area of Radiation Oncology in Lebanon. These soothing works contribute to a sense of calm and beauty. As Alan Hartford, MD, PhD, pointed out - even staff benefit from more beauty in the midst of a clinical setting.

D-H recognized Evelyn Schlosser, our director for quality and patient safety, with the Varnum Award for her outstanding contributions to value and quality in the Cancer Center. Just a couple of years into the job, Evelyn is a true leader in helping us change culture and provide higher value patient care.

Donna Dubuc developed a breast cancer awareness program featuring lemons and educational messaging targeted toward uninsured and low-income woman. Deployed all across our system, it was been designed to attract the attention of women and provide learning opportunities to enhance patient participation in the choice of care they pursue.

Bennington Hospital is joining our group as the next Cancer Center clinic and their location in southern Vermont puts NCCC quality care in reach of many New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts residents, while expanding our western reach.

Recently the Shared Resources group put the Ion Torrent into use, making quick-turnaround gene sequencing a phenomenal tool for our investigators.

New linear accelerators in Nashua and Lebanon are under construction to deliver radiation treatment more precisely in the coming year.

Chris Amos, PhDChris Amos, PhD arrived from MD Anderson to lead Population Science and already his collaborative outlook and commitment to team science are producing research results.

The Trustees of Dartmouth College approved construction of the Williamson Translational Research Building and the Cancer Center will have a full floor to bring together many of our translational scientists in close proximity to enhance team science.

A diverse group of lung cancer investigators and clinicians spent two days at a retreat in Quechee that led to exciting new synergies that can be expected to inform their work for several years. A new lung cancer screening protocol is a prime example.

New Hampshire weathered a tough challenge from Cancer Treatment Centers of America that sought NH legislative approval to circumvent the Certificate of Need process and install their for-profit cancer center in the southern region of the state. Their practice of only taking patients who can pay for their care would have deferred an increased number of charity cases to NCCC.

This fall, the New Hampshire State Cancer Registry (NHSCR) celebrated its 25th anniversary. This is an infinitely rich source of data for cancer researchers and physicians as we seek to understand cancer's complexities and mysteries, particularly with regard to cancer's impact on the citizens of New Hampshire.

Recruiting scientists from a world where mentioning New Hampshire is sometimes met with, "What state is that in?" has been challenging. Our new book about our science, All Together Now: Inside the Collaborative Culture of Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center is designed to provide a first-rate display of our terrific people and science.

Up and down the Twin States, Telisa Stewart provided cancer prevention education messaging to rural blue-collar employees in their workplaces. By connecting with 52 employers, over 35,000 employees learned about how to prevent cancer.

Mark Israel 40th AnniversaryJeff O'Brien was the top candidate in a national search to find our next VP for Cancer Services and I was thrilled to welcome him aboard in November. He brings years of experience in cancer care at the Lahey Clinic and is currently busy visiting our many clinics and meeting the staff.

And finally, the Cancer Center's 40th anniversary and Scientific Symposium. If you missed any of the lectures, they have all been archived here.

Over the December Break I trust you will enjoy our beautiful Northern home and time off with family and friends.

Mark Israel, Director

True Time LogoThe Time is Right for TrueTime

In an effort to improve the accuracy of scheduling in 3K, new strategies are being implemented on 11/26/2012.

  • Patients will only be checked into the infusion suite +/- 15 minutes from the scheduled infusion start time.
  • Pharmacy will mix according to the patient schedule.
  • Patients will no longer have to run to infusion to start their chemotherapy mixing.

Our goal is to closely adhere to the schedule to ensure that patients appointments start and end on time.

Enjoy Discount Shopping as an Employee

Dartmouth College and DHMC Employees qualify for a wide range of discounts through D'Perks. From summer camp to ski passes, flowers to pajamas, rental cars to cell phones. Whether you are ordering pizza or a diamond necklace, check out the discount codes and coupons available just for you at D'Perks.

Heater Road Grand Opening

The new Dartmouth-Hitchcock Heater Road facility will host its official open house on Saturday, December 1, 2012 from 12 noon - 3 p.m. Join us for tours of the facility, educational sessions, food, games for children, and fun for your entire family. This new, 102,750 square-foot-facility will provide patients with convenient access to comprehensive primary/preventive care services as well as other medical and surgical specialties It will also be home to our new LiveWell/WorkWell Primary Care practice for Dartmouth-Hitchcock-insured employees and their adult dependents.

Bone Marrow Biopsies Changing

Beginnin in January of 2013, NCCC will perform bone marrow biopsies at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Outpatient Surgery Center at 36 LaHaye Drive. This transition offers patients increased privacy, a dedicated treatment team, and more choices for pain management. has new look

The Dartmouth home site--which includes the home page plus about 80 pages at the top level of launched a new visual design. The improvements represent the first phase of a major upgrade of Dartmouth's public web presence, which was last redesigned in 2006. Read more about the redesign effort on Dartmouth Now:

The United Way

The Dartmouth United Way campaign is underway. Each year they provide services and programs that help thousands of our neighbors, ranging from safe shelter, food pantries, hospice visits, and job training to fuel assistance, prevention programs, counseling, and warm clothing. You can learn more about the drive (and this year's robust matching gift program) at

NanoString added as shared resource

Norris Cotton Cancer Center and the Dartmouth Lung Biology Center have teamed up to deliver an exciting new technology to Dartmouth investigators. The NanoString nCounter Gene Expression Assay is a reproducible method for detecting expressed genes at very high sensitivity. The nCounter assay bridges the gap between microarrays and real-time quantitative PCR for gene expression profiling. The assay is highly sensitive and does not require reverse transcription of mRNA to cDNA or PCR amplification of the resulting cDNA.

In addition to the nCounter Analysis System will perform: Single Cell Gene Expression Analysis, miRNA Expression Analysis, miRGE Analysis, Copy Number Variation Analysis, lncRNA Expression Analysis, ChIP Expression Analysis and Leukemia Fusion Gene Analysis. NanoString has EU clearance to sell their breast cancer diagnostic test and is currently seeking FDA approval for US sales.

See <> for detailed information.

The NanoString nCounter Gene Expression System is housed in the Molecular Biology Shared Resource on the Hanover Campus in the Remsen building. It will be operated as a service for the most part, there are a few qualified labs that will be able to use it as a walkup instrument under Molecular Biology Shared Resource supervision. The Director of the Molecular Biology Shared Resource is: Yolanda Sanchez. Contact Chris Lytle, 650-6546 for additional information.

Bylaws for One DH

As the organization works toward becoming "One Dartmouth-Hitchcock," leadership is working to redesign the bylaws. Corporate bylaws serve as the road map for how a corporate entity (D-H in this case) and its trustees function. Bylaws cover areas, such as the nature and structure of the organization; the number of trustees and their designated scope of duties; and how the organization complies with rules governing not-for-profits.

The changes to the bylaws that currently are under consideration include:

  • A merger of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic (DHC) and Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital (MHMH) into one corporation with one Board of Trustees;
  • As a result of the merger, focusing on the concept of "One Dartmouth-Hitchcock" with integrated operations to support a single governance and operational structure.
  • A restructured Board of Governors in Lebanon and Board of Trustees, making it smaller, more purposeful and more effective.

Our overarching goal is to develop an organizational structure that:

  • facilitates the achievement of our mission and vision relating to population health;
  • establishes a sustainable health system;
  • supports the management of large populations in a risk-based environment; and
  • allows us to take care of our patients and their families for years to come.

For more information or questions about the bylaws redesign or our journey to become One Dartmouth-Hitchcock, send an e-mail to: or visit: Bylaws Redesign Overview and Bylaws Redesign List of Benefits.

Grand Rounds Going to Tuesdays

As we are approaching December, please be reminded that NCCC Grand Rounds will be on Tuesdays beginning in January 2013. If you would like to nominate someone to speak, please contact Paula Therrien at

Annual Holiday Party

December 19th, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Rubin Building Atrium 6

Games, Prizes, Food, Drink, Entertainment, Fun
Be one of seven lucky winners of a $50 Visa gift card