As we prepare to wind down 2023, let’s take stock of all the remarkable activity at Providence Cancer Institute over the past 12 months: We’ve expanded our services in the region, grown our genomics program, received significant awards, grants and new appointments, and advanced cancer care and research through the support of our Providence Cancer Institute providers, caregivers, patients and partners.
Looking back, there’s much to celebrate – and more to look forward to in the new year.
Read on to see highlights from 2023 events, achievements and advancements at Providence Cancer Institute of Oregon and its research division, Earle A. Chiles Research Institute.
Clinics and Programs
By the end of 2023, more than 6,700 patients will have received treatment or diagnosis of a new cancer at a Providence facility in Oregon. To help care for more patients close to their homes, we expanded services and resources in the region. Our oncology nurse navigators, oncology social workers and oncology resource specialists worked together and in close partnership with our clinical teams to provide seamless supportive care to patients, families and care partners -- from diagnosis through treatment and beyond.
Expanded services for patients
The Carol D. Suzuki Cancer Center at Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center opened in March, providing cancer care and resources for residents in Clackamas County and surrounding communities. In addition to medical oncology and clinical trials, patients can receive breast surgery care and plans are underway to offer consultation with a thoracic surgeon in the future.
September marked the opening of Providence Cancer Institute Franz Sexual Health Services. The clinic cares for people experiencing changes to their sexual health due to cancer treatment or risk-reduction surgery. Learn more about Franz Sexual Health Services and Nora Lersch, D.N.P., oncology nurse practitioner and sexual health counselor.
Awards and accreditations demonstrate commitment to excellence
Providence Cancer Institute’s commitment to excellence is reflected in awards for high performance, and our memberships in and accreditations by prestigious professional organizations, such as the American College of Surgeons and National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP).
In 2023, highlights include:
- Healthgrades Outstanding Patient Experience Awards for Providence St. Vincent Medical Center, Providence Portland Medical Center and Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital.
- Providence Portland and Providence St. Vincent recognized by U.S. News & World Report as High-Performing Hospitals for lung, colon and prostate cancer surgery, among other cancers.
- The Providence Jack Loacker Center for Cardio-Oncology was recognized by the International Cardio-Oncology Society (IC-OS), with a Silver Status award, deeming it a Center of Excellence.
- Four oncology social workers nominated for the Providence Oregon Social Worker of the Year Award, including 2023 award recipient Adell Lenart, MSW, LSCW.
New providers and leadership
In 2023, 13 new providers joined Providence Cancer Institute. We also welcomed a new leader and expanded the roles of two current leaders to help guide Providence cancer and digestive health services in the region.
From left to right: Bradley Ackerson, M.D., Eric Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., Asher Caldwell, AGPCNP-BC, ACHPN, Re-I Chin, M.D., MSCI, Kimberlie Dame, AGPCNP-BC, ANP-C, Kenneth Grossmann, M.D., Ph.D., Evie Hobbs, M.D.., Zoe Holman, LAc, Caleb Langsam, PA-C, Gwendolyn (Wendy) McGinnis, M.D., Callie Sockler, DNP, AGACNP-BC, Sarah Nelson, LAc, Pimsani Wesley, FNP-BC, FNP-C, OCN
- Lyn Dobrunick, MN, FNP, assumed the role of executive leader for Providence Digestive Health Institute of Oregon, in addition to her current duties as executive director for Providence Cancer Institute. Read the announcement.
- Kenneth Grossmann, M.D., Ph.D., was hired as division director for Hematology and Medical Oncology, while Kelly Perlewitz, M.D., assumed a new role as deputy division director for Hematology and Medical Oncology. Read the announcement.
Accessible, multi-lingual patient education videos
To make cancer care more accessible to everyone in our diverse communities, Providence Cancer Institute is committed to providing resources that are culturally and linguistically appropriate, as well as free and accessible to all.
In 2023, two online patient education videos were completed and made available to patients in six languages: English, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.
- Understanding your cancer treatment: Nutrition Matters, featuring Alyssa George, MA, RDN. Watch video.
- Understanding your cancer treatment: Immunotherapy, featuring Sasha Stanton, M.D., Ph.D. Watch video.
Learn more about the Living Well patient education resources and watch for the latest video, "Understanding your cancer treatment: Oral chemotherapy," available soon.
Media partnerships, publications showcase expertise
Providence Cancer Institute providers, caregivers and patients are regularly featured in local media and Providence publications, such as inScope and To Your Health blog. Their expertise and stories are a source of expert information and inspiration for our communities.
2023 highlights include:
- Genomic testing can improve outcomes for people with advanced cancer, study shows with Carlo Bifulco, M.D., and Brian Piening, Ph.D.
- Virus-based vaccine study at Providence may lead to new treatment for prostate cancer with Brendan Curti, M.D., and Emily Lin, M.D.
- New thoracic surgeon scientist provides translational research and robotic surgery with Heather Merry, M.D., Eric Tran, Ph.D., and David Chen, M.D.
- Kellie Ernst, MSW, LCSW, oncology social worker at Providence Cancer Institute, and cancer survivor Jeff Newell discuss the benefits of support services on KATU.
- Sasha Stanton, M.D., Ph.D., talks about breast cancer vaccine research at Providence Cancer Institute on KPTV.
- Allison Nauta, M.D., FACS, and Sarah Walcott-Sapp, M.D., discuss how they work together to help breast cancer patients at Providence Cancer Institute.
Translational research at Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, a division of Providence Cancer Institute, provides opportunities for patients to participate in or benefit from basic science research and clinical trials for major organs and cancer conditions. Our clinical research portfolio is extensive, and we offer trials not available anywhere else on the West Coast.
Donors help fund research
Philanthropic support is essential to advancing breakthrough research at Providence Cancer Institute. We are grateful to everyone who contributes as a donor and/or volunteer to help make cancer treatment advancements possible.
More than $10 million was raised for research, support services and emergency department renovations, including $940,000 raised through Hood to Coast and nearly $900,000 raised at the 25th anniversary of Creating Hope.
Additionally, Providence Cancer Institute doctors, scientists and patients are featured in the new documentary, “Within Reach: The Fight to Finish Cancer,” produced by Providence Foundations of Oregon in partnership with ZP Productions.
The film follows patient participants and the teams of researchers and clinicians working to create a revolutionary therapy for patients who have exhausted all other forms of treatment.
To view the full documentary online, visit providencefoundations.org/withinreach.
Notable awards, grants and appointments
We are proud of the recognition and honors bestowed on providers and researchers at Providence Cancer Institute and acknowledge the hard work of everyone who contributed to advancing cancer treatments.
2023 highlights include:
- Walter Urba, M.D., Ph.D., received the Alvin J. Thompson Award by the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research (NWABR) for his contributions to advancing the field of cancer research. Read the announcement.
- David Page, M.D., MS, was appointed as a National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program Representative of the Breast Immuno-Oncology Task Force, within the NCI Breast Cancer Steering Committee.
- Rachel Sanborn, M.D., was appointed SWOG Lung Cancer Metastatic sub-committee chair.
- Michael Gough, Ph.D., was awarded the prestigious R21 grant from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Gough is collaborating with Marka Crittenden, M.D., Ph.D., to research the Dnase1l3 gene.
Published articles and engagement in professional conferences
Researchers at Earle A. Chiles Research Institute attended important professional conferences where they contributed to abstracts and gave presentations to an international audience of peers.
See who contributed to abstracts or gave presentations at:
In 2023, our researchers gave more than 70 faculty presentations and contributed to more than:
- 50 peer-review articles in medical journals
- 70 conference abstracts
- 1 book
Highlights include articles published in The New England Journal of Medicine, Head and Neck Pathology and Cancers:
- Amivantamab plus Chemotherapy in NSCLC with EGFR Exon 20 Insertions. Rachel Sanborn, M.D., et al.
- Preoperative Treatment of Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer, Hagen F. Kennecke, M.D., et al.
- HN-CLEAR: Head and Neck Consensus Language for Ease and Reproducibility, a Multidisciplinary Consensus Mechanism for Head and Neck Pathology, Bryan Bell, M.D., D.D.S., FACS, et al.
- Multicenter International Study of the Consensus Immunoscore for the Prediction of Relapse and Survival in Early-Stage Colon Cancer, Carlo Bifulco, M.D., Bernard Fox., Ph.D., et al.
Community Engagement, Outreach and Partnerships
Providence Cancer Institute is committed to improving the health of our communities. We work closely with community partners to improve access to health care across the communities we serve. This is especially important for underserved and vulnerable communities who have difficulty accessing health care services due to financial challenges, language barriers or lack of transportation resources.
2023 highlights include:
- Free Latina Mammogram Health Fair in collaboration with Providence Newberg Medical Center Diagnostic Imaging, Providence Promotores, Pink Lemonade Project, and others
- Free educational talk on MRI-guided radiation therapy for breast cancer with Kristina Young, M.D., Ph.D.
- Online cancer nutrition class hosted by a Providence registered dietician and available to the community at no cost
Grateful for our partnerships
Thank you to all our 2023 partner organizations:
AIM at Melanoma Foundation • American Cancer Society • American Lung Association • Asian Health & Service Center • Colon Cancer Coalition • Hood to Coast Relay • Kiteboard4cancer • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society • Oregon Health Authority • Ovarian Cancer Alliance • Pancreatic Cancer Action Network • Pink Lemonade Project • Zero Prostate Cancer
We look forward to providing new patient education and awareness events in 2024 and supporting the diverse communities we serve.
For the latest news on Providence Cancer Institute and Earle A. Chiles Research Institute, be sure to follow us:
- X (formerly Twitter)
- Earle A. Chiles Research Institute Linkedin
- Providence Cancer Institute Linkedin