Penn Medicine appoints Robert Vonderheide for a second five-year term as director of the Abramson Cancer Center
PHILADELPHIA CREAM — Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, was appointed to a second five-year term as director of the Abramson Cancer Center (ACC) at the University of Pennsylvania, following a highly successful tenure that saw 17 FDA approvals in oncology for therapies based on studies led or co-led by ACC researchers, high-impact basic and translational research discoveries, expansion of radiation oncology services to new sites in the Philadelphia area, and development of new methods of imaging of live tumors during surgeries. Under his leadership, the ACC also launched new cancer home care and telemedicine programs, as well as initiatives that have improved germline genetic testing, cancer screenings, and participation in clinical trials of minority patients. He will continue as Vice President of Cancer Programs for the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Associate Dean of Cancer Programs at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine.
In the next phase of his leadership, Dr Vonderheide will build on the development of pathways to ensure that – in the increasingly complex landscape of cancer care and research – patients across the healthcare system can access cutting-edge care from Penn Medicine no matter where they live. Key examples already underway include proton therapy at Lancaster General Health and Virtua Health in New Jersey, both slated to open this year; subspecialty surgery consultation at Penn Medicine outpatient sites and regional hospitals; and telemedical options for genetic counseling and CAR T cell therapy and bone marrow transplant assessment and education.
“Patients can expect an exceptional experience at every place in our healthcare system – a place where they are cared for by the most committed staff, specialist nurses and top-level medical experts. Now we’re harmonizing that patient experience to ensure that every patient receives the most seamless care and the most robust options across different care sites, and help to easily navigate between them,” said the system’s CEO. health from the University of Pennsylvania. Kevin B. Mahoney. “Under Dr. Vonderheide’s leadership, we ensure that every patient has every opportunity to receive the most personalized treatment and the best chance of recovery at every doorway they walk through in Penn Medicine.”
Vonderheide’s renewal as director of the ACC includes an investment of $130 million over five years from the health system to provide resources and infrastructure to unify all cancer care and research missions at through Penn Medicine.
Increasing access to cancer clinical trials is a key area of focus, through the development of a Cancer Clinical Trials Network, including more opportunities for patients at Penn Medicine Regional Hospitals to participate clinical trials conducted at key sites on the ACC campus in Philadelphia, and the expansion of other trial sites closer to patients’ homes. Additional efforts will harness the power of Penn’s unified electronic health record, from new approaches to engaging patients in the Penn Medicine BioBank to expanding programs offering patients “e-nudges” to schedule mammograms and other tests and appointments through the MyPennMedicine portal.
“This is a time of exciting and unprecedented momentum for cancer care and research. The cancer death rate has fallen faster than ever over the past two years, in part due to the development of prevention strategies and targeted immunotherapies for a range of diseases,” said J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD, dean of the Perelman School of Medicine and executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania for the health system. “Dr. Vonderheide embodies this momentum, as an exceptional collaborator who brings together experts from different disciplines to focus efforts on the most innovative ways to achieve our shared goals of driving cancer discovery and improving patient care. .
ACC has been continuously designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) since 1973, one of only 52 such centers in the United States. It is one of the nation’s top-ranked cancer centers, providing adult care during more than 300,000 outpatient visits annually at all six Penn Medicine Cancer System hospitals, as well as delivering more than 190,000 outpatient infusion therapies, more than 130,000 radiation therapies and 330 stem cell transplants each year. ACC was rated “outstanding” in its competitive research funding review, the highest possible merit rating for an NCI cancer center.
Dr. Vonderheide is a leading authority on cancer immunology, leading laboratory and clinical research focused on immunotherapies and vaccines for pancreatic, breast, and other cancers. He serves on the boards of the American Association of Cancer Research, the American Association of Cancer Institutes, and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. He is a member of the NCI Council of Scientific Advisors.
He received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Notre Dame and is a graduate of Harvard Medical School, as well as the University of Oxford, where he earned a doctorate in immunology as a Rhodes Scholar. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and a fellowship in medical oncology at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the first medical school in the country) and the University of Pennsylvania Health Systemwhich together make up a $9.9 billion business.
The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according to US News & World Report’s survey of research-intensive medical schools. The school is consistently a top recipient of funding from the nation’s National Institutes of Health, with $546 million awarded in fiscal year 2021.
Patient care facilities in the University of Pennsylvania Health System include: University of Pennsylvania Hospital and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center – which are recognized as one of the top “Honor Roll” hospitals in the nation by US News & World Report – Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Other facilities and businesses include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.
Penn Medicine is powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 52,000 people. The organization also has alliances with top community health systems in southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey, creating more options for patients, wherever they live.
Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community programs and activities. In fiscal year 2021, Penn Medicine provided more than $619 million to benefit our community.