Cancer Currents for March 2011

News and Notes from Director Mark Israel, MD
Cancer Directors' Retreat

I recently participated in a national retreat for directors of cancer centers. We are a relatively small group, and a key attraction of these meetings is the chance to share new ideas and talk about new opportunities and initiatives. I can report with all sincerity that though there are a few centers with special features that we may want to learn more about, our Cancer Center stands up very well by any comparison. I am absolutely convinced that it is the dedication, energy, and commitment to innovative science and compassionate clinical care of our faculty and staff that is the key to our success. It has been a long winter and for every day that you froze while hurrying through Lot 20 bundled beyond all recognition, or cleaned a foot of snow off your car after a long day, I thank for your participation in our important work fighting cancer.

National Cancer Institute Awards for Predoctoral Candidates

NCI is participating in the following parent announcements supporting predoctoral candidates (PhD and dual degrees: MD/PhD, DO/PhD, DDS/PhD, AuD/PhD). The application deadline is April 8, 2011. More information and an online application are available at these links:

The NCI contact for the two awards is Erica Rosemond, PhD, (301) 496-8580 or

This is an unusual opportunity for predoctoral candidates, and I urge all Cancer Center staff who work with young investigators to suggest they take a look at the criteria and consider applying. Learning to prepare a grant proposal should be a key aspect of the training experience here.

New Q&PS Poster

You'll see new posters around staff-only areas of the Cancer Center touting the terrific work that's been done so far on Quality & Patient Safety. I am particularly pleased to note that many different locations are involved in this important initiative, and I look forward to hearing about the next round of improvement efforts. With each group that attends the Quality 101 training we become a stronger force for Quality & Patient Safety. If you are not aware of our self-improvement efforts please talk to colleagues and get involved. The time for change is now!

Farewell to Mary

After nine years at the Cancer Center as Director of Communications, Mary Hawkins is starting her own communications consulting practice, and we wish her well. Fortunately, for the next two months she will be continuing with us on a part-time basis to develop key web content for the COGs. Mary has been an integral force in the growth of the Cancer Center in the past and her contributions are greatly appreciated by all.

Colorectal Cancer Screening Expo, March 4

Lynn Butterly, MD, and Joanne Gersten, RN, MS, have been incredibly busy preparing for a major colorectal cancer screening expo to be held on March 4. New Hampshire Public Radio will host the Expo in their Broadcast Center at 2 Pillsbury Street in Concord from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The New Hampshire Colorectal Cancer Screening Program (NHCRCSP), funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provides free colorectal screenings to qualified people throughout New Hampshire. This is a major project for the Cancer Center and our Cancer Control Research Program with extremely challenging goals—NHCRCSP aims to increase colorectal cancer screening to 80% of the state’s residents age 50 and older by 2014—and a terrific leadership team. These activities are an important aspect of the Cancer Center's efforts to achieve the healthiest population possible.

Health Care Delivery Presentation Available Via Webcast

On February 8, Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim, MD, PhD; Dartmouth-Hitchcock Co-President Jim Weinstein, MD; Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science Director Al Mulley, MD; and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Co-President Nancy Formella, RN, presented a program about the new Center for Health Care Delivery Science. Auditorium G proved to be far too small to accommodate the scores of folks interested in hearing the talk. Fortunately it is available on the D-H website, and I encourage you to watch it for insight on the future of our enterprise particularly as it relates to the new Center. In his talk, President Kim referenced a fascinating article on medical "hot spots" by Atul Gawande. Read the full article at

Reminder: Collaborative Research Funding Opportunity

March 15 is the deadline to request the initial round of funding for the new collaborative program instituted by the Cancer Center in partnership with UMass and UVM. The purpose of our new collaborative program with these institutions is to develop critical mass among researchers in areas where synergies are being easily identified by Cancer Center scientists. This is a terrific opportunity for significant funding to pursue new lines of investigation with new colleagues or longstanding collaborators at UMass and UVM. Throughout my career, I have found that stepping forward and making a connection with another scientist has, time after time, yielded incredible opportunities to leverage skills, novel technologies, and new perspectives. Requests for the initial round of funding must be submitted electronically by March 15 to Priscilla Vazquez, Coordinator, UMass/Dartmouth Cancer Center Collaborative Research Program ( A roster of the UMass scientists is available from Priscilla, and I encourage you to take a look and consider a partnership with a new colleague. We are working on a similar document for investigators at UVM. More information and application: [grant announcement (PDF)] [grant description (PDF)] [grant application form (PDF)].

When the Doctor's Wife Has Cancer

The New York Times is publishing an excellent blog written by an oncologist from Memorial Sloan Kettering about the experience of being the husband of a newly diagnosed patient with breast cancer in his own hospital. He writes eloquently about his entirely new view of the hospital, the staff, and a patient's reality. Read the blog at

New Cancer Center Members
  • Carrie Hoverman Colla, PhD
    Cancer Control Research Program, and Assistant Professor, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice
  • Eunice Chen, MD, PhD
    Cancer Imaging and Radiobiology Research Program, and Assistant Professor, Surgery; Section of Otolaryngology & Pediatric Otolaryngology
  • Barjor Gimi, PhD
    Cancer Imaging and Radiobiology Research Program, and Assistant Professor of Radiology and of Medicine, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Engineering
  • Leslie Jarvis, MD, PhD
    Cancer Imaging and Radiobiology Research Program, and Assistant Professor of Radiology

I am encouraged, once again, by the tremendous talent new members bring to Norris Cotton Cancer Center. Their contributions to our research efforts and clinical care are extraordinary and bode well for our future.

New IT Assistant Director: William Daugherty

Every new hire is special, but it is the IT team that makes so much of our work flow smoothly. Please join me in giving a warm welcome to William Daugherty, assistant director of IT. Bill has great experience in this field and will bring important skills to our IT group. Of note is his outstanding history of hard work in leading the IT efforts that support the Prouty each year. Welcome aboard, Bill!

Upcoming Events
  • New Hampshire CCC Annual Meeting (April 13)
  • Integrative Biology Symposium (April 27)
—Mark Israel, MD