Emory Report
April 20, 2009
Volume 61, Number 28


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April 20
, 2009
A first for Georgia at Emory

By Vincent Dollard

When Kristin Moss learned that Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute had earned the coveted National Cancer Institute Cancer Center Designation, she was not surprised.

Moss, who undertook a full range of therapies at Winship, including participation in a clinical trial, says that cancer is such a devastating diagnosis, the warmth and personal touch she experienced there are as much a part of what makes a great cancer center as the groundbreaking science and clinical trials.

“They deserve the designation,” says Moss, a breast cancer survivor. “From Dr. Sheryl Gabram, my surgeon, to Marilyn Cook who greets me at the front desk, Winship provides advanced therapies in a caring environment.

I would travel across the country to come to Winship.”

Emory Winship is the first and only medical facility in Georgia and just the 65th cancer center in the country to earn this distinction. As an NCI-designated center, Winship will receive $4,285,191 in grant funding over the next three years to grow scientific research infrastructure. The NCI will then review the designation for a five-year renewal.

“This designation is a tremendous honor and a reflection of the hard work and dedication that is exhibited by faculty and staff throughout the Emory system,” says Brian Leyland-Jones, executive director of Winship and associate vice president for health affairs for the Woodruff Health Sciences Center. “The designation enables us to continue to develop research initiatives that will result in new therapies for patients throughout Georgia and beyond.”

According to the NCI, a designated cancer center’s research components are the core of a much larger assembly of cancer activities, including clinical care, support services and education, all of which extend the benefits of research directly to patients, their families, and the general public.

“NCI-designated Cancer Centers are a major source of discovery of the nature of cancer and of the development of more effective approaches to cancer prevention, diagnosis and therapy,” says Leyland-Jones.

Gov. Sonny Perdue came to Emory April 13 to formally announce the NCI designation in front of an overflow crowd comprised of board members, state and county legislators, patients, faculty and staff.
“Winship has served as a model in collaborative research,” says Perdue. “The people here work statewide to address the pressing issues related to treatment, education and access to care for cancer patients.”
While many Winship partners took part in making the announcement regarding the designation, some of the most important conversations have occurred in exam rooms and infusion centers at Winship, Emory University Hospital, Emory University Hospital Midtown, Grady, and the VA.

“Patients are talking about this designation,” says Linda Mpika, a medical assistant in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology. “They’re excited about it. I was talking to a patient who told me that it made her feel so good to know we are among the nation’s elite cancer centers and this is where she comes for her care. It makes a difference.”