Cancer Currents for May 2011

Logo: eD-H, Dartmouth-Hitchcock's electronic health recordNews and Notes from Director Mark Israel, MD

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Transitioning to Dartmouth-Hitchcock's new electronic health record has been challenging and remains a work in progress, but I sincerely applaud the remarkable efforts and laser-sharp patient focus of Cancer Center clinical staff. eDH promises to be a highly effective tool for adapting to our rapidly changing health care environment. Even more important, eDH offers opportunities to improve safety, coordination of care, and cost-effectiveness while enhancing our ability to provide personalized medicine to each and every patient who walks through our doors.

Training for eDH within the workflow of our health care system remains a challenge for everyone with patient contact, and the collaborative ethic visible every single day makes me extremely proud of the people responsible for our clinical enterprise. The universal concern of techs, nurses, doctors, and staff is "getting it right for our patients." As the registration staff at 3K said to me, "We need to learn how to do this correctly—our patients are counting on us." Yes, implementing the new system is trying everyone's patience, but camaraderie is carrying the day: whether with suggestions, commiseration, or chocolate, our staff members are taking good care of one other during this process of ongoing transition.

This is a very fine Cancer Center in a very fine medical center, and you, our people, make it so. I am grateful for your dedication and your commitment to the highest quality of patient-centered cancer care, as we strive to achieve the healthiest population possible.

Photo: Marc Ernstoff, MD, as Associate Director for Clinical Research at the Cancer CenterMarc Ernstoff, New Associate Director for Clinical Research

I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Marc Ernstoff, MD, as Associate Director for Clinical Research at the Cancer Center. As Associate Director, Dr. Ernstoff will have direct responsibility for advancement of research involving patients with cancer. He will also have lead responsibility for enhancing the NCCC clinical research infrastructure, including the NCCC Office of Clinical Research, the NCCC Clinical Cancer Research Committee, and the NCCC Safety and Data Management Committee.

I deeply appreciate the efforts of Burton Eisenberg, MD, who in recent months has bridged the roles of both NCCC Deputy Director and Associate Director for Clinical Research. I anticipate that the ongoing collaborative efforts of Drs. Ernstoff and Eisenberg will have an important impact upon the clinical research enterprise.

Circle of Life Honor for Palliative Care

Congratulations to our Palliative Care Service team for earning a Circle of Life Citation of Honor by the American Hospital Association (AHA). In awarding this citation, AHA called particular attention to the team's regional approach, strong clinical research and educational emphasis, physician-nurse partnerships, their use of integrative therapies, and the No One Alone program. This award brings national recognition to the substantive accomplishments of the Palliative Care Service program, and we take enormous pride in their achievements.

Cancer Center Selected for CITN

Graphic: Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN) logoThe Cancer Center has been selected as one of 27 research institutions across North America that will be part of the Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN), which is funded by the National Cancer Institute. As a new initiative in immunotherapy, the CITN will establish a network of top academic immunologists to conduct multicenter research on agents that boost patients' own immune systems to fight their cancer. The mission of the CITN is to select, design, and conduct early-phase trials using priority agents with known and proven biologic function, and to provide the high-quality immunogenicity and biomarker data essential to inform subsequent development pathways leading to the broad availability of these agents for treating patients with cancer. This is significant, substantial work, and special recognition goes to Marc Ernstoff, MD, for guiding our efforts in this area and bringing the Cancer Center into the CITN.

Career Development Award

Congratulations are also in order for Anna-Leila Williams, PhD, a research fellow in the Cancer Control Research Program, for receiving a career development award from the National Palliative Care Research Center. We will be following Dr. Williams' work with great interest.

A Gift of Honor and Respect

The Cancer Center recently received a very generous gift from Tom Sullivan, MD, a retired radiologist, that honors the trust and respect he holds for the scientists and oncologists at the Cancer Center and DHMC. It also represents his hope for future scientific breakthroughs in the treatment of cancer. "This gift truly highlights the work many of the Cancer Center's oncologists do at the outreach sites," says Mary Chamberlin, MD, who treated him at our outreach clinic at Springfield Hospital. "These clinics have become important parts of our wider community."

New Comparative Effectiveness Web Sites Now Live

Several new research sites within the Cancer Center's revamped web site are now live. They include:

As we go forward, no doubt there will be additions and changes you will want to make to the web pages related to your work. Whenever you would like to do so, just fill out the Cancer Center Website Request Form.

Pizza Talks Through the Summer

Photo: a pizzaNot long ago I joined one of the weekly "Pizza Talk" discussions. Students and postdocs filled the room with lively debates about research and clinical care. This wonderful series, organized by Mathieu Lupien, PhD, will continue through the summer. Surely this is amongst the very best pedagogy, and it's great to see this succeed so beautifully.

Cancer Survivors Day

Photo: Tulips in many colorsJoin us in celebrating Cancer Survivors Day with songs, stories, wellness, and whimsy on Sunday, May 15, from 1 to 4:30 p.m. at DHMC. We look forward to the keynote talk from Susan DeBevoise Wright, a Prouty participant, titled "Curing the Soul: The Story of Three Cranes and My Cancer Trial." Singer and story-teller Tom Rush will also perform, and more musical entertainment will be supplied by an all-star Cancer Center band featuring our own Jim Sargent, Michael Ward, David Nalepinski, and Tom Davis. Michael will also provide a Cancer Center update. Four educational sessions include "Feeding Your Body and Soul" with Lavanya Kethamukkala, RD; " Dance to the Music, the Importance of Exercise," with Teri Cioffreddi, PT, and Jasmin Bihler, PT; " Self Care for Stressful Times," with Lisa Harbus; and "Coping with Chemo Brain" with Karen Gillock, PhD. Participants will also have the opportunity to make their own craft cards, bookmarks, and origami cranes.

Spring Means: Get Back Into Shape!

The warmer weather has all of us thinking about outdoor activities again. A great way to work your way back into shape is in the Fitness Center here at DHMC, open 24 hours a day to all employees. The center is in the Doctors' Office Building, Level 2, Room 2111S401 near the General Ambulatory Services and the Nurse Float offices. On Tuesdays from noon to 12:30, "Work Day Fitness" at the center helps your body stay fit at the office; the session is repeated on Friday mornings from 8 to 8:30 a.m.

Photo: "The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer," by Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, PhD, book coverThe Prize-Winning "Emperor"

"The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer," by Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, PhD, is not only one of the best recently published books on cancer, it's also the winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction. A must-read!

Manuscript Strategies Lecture

Harold Sox, MD, and Christopher Dant, PhD, will team up on Friday, May 13, to present "The Biomedical Manuscript - Strategies for Getting Your Paper in Print from the Journal Editor's and the Writer's Perspectives." This don't-miss-it lecture will be held in Auditorium E here at DHMC in Lebanon, from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. Hal, professor of medicine at DMS, is the former Medical Editor of Annals of Internal Medicine, one of the most prestigious and cited medical journals in the world, and Chris is a former investigator, writer, and journal editor who is the Cancer Center's in-house expert on preparing research articles for publication. They will explain the essentials of creating an accepted peer-reviewed biomedical manuscript. To sign up, please RSVP to

—Mark Israel, MD