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Caring for People

April 26, 2023

As researchers and clinicians at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, we are focused on eradicating cancer, but our main priority is caring for people.

This issue of Momentum touches on some of the ways in which we deliver whole patient care. Our cover story details how a team comprised of a medical oncologist, surgical oncologist and orthopaedic surgeon joined forces to spare a surgeon’s thumb from aggressive melanoma and preserve his career. Another story describes how we have established a protocol for administering Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR T) therapy in a manner that liberates patients from long hospital stays. We are always looking for better ways to serve our patients. That requires listening and allowing patients and their families to guide us as we make improvements. The recently formed Patient and Family Advisory Council, which you can read about in this issue, helps direct those actions.

We provide a wide range of services to meet the needs of patients, ranging from mental health services to physical rehabilitation services. Vanderbilt University Medical Center has the only fellowship-trained cancer rehabilitation physiatrist in Tennessee. A profile of Cristina Kline-Quiroz, DO, in this issue explains how she works alongside physical therapists and other clinicians to help people regain mobility during and after cancer treatment. 

The care we provide for people extends beyond Vanderbilt. An example of that is our collaboration with Baptist Memorial Health Care to provide access to clinical trials for people living in the Deep South. Physicians from both institutions are partnering on research collaborations and holding joint community outreach and engagement events. Our shared goal is to improve health outcomes for all patients, with emphasis on inclusiveness and helping people of color and rural residents.

Many of the people at Vanderbilt responsible for the innovations in cancer care work primarily in research laboratories instead of clinics. In this issue, you can read about the achievements of one of those laboratories, the A.B. Hancock Jr. Memorial Laboratory for Cancer Research, which is celebrating 50 years of discoveries. 

We do what we do because we care about people, and we are constantly striving to innovate, discover, listen and take action, so people battling cancer can live longer and better lives, and be cured of their disease.