September 8, 2010
SIH and SIU Cancer Institutes Announce Affiliation
A new affiliation that will enhance specialized cancer treatment for patients in southern Illinois has been announced by Southern Illinois Healthcare (SIH) Cancer Institute and Simmons Cancer Institute (SCI) at Southern Illinois University (SIU) School of Medicine. This is the first downstate affiliation named by SIU’s institute, which is based in Springfield.
"This is a great day of progress for southern Illinois. This new and exciting collaboration, between a major downstate health care provider and the Simmons Cancer Institute, is one more example of our university’s commitment and service to the people of this region," said SIU President Glenn Poshard.
“True partnerships take work, organization and dedication. I look forward to the much good that will come from this affiliation for our friends and family members who battle the collective diseases known as cancer," added Rita Cheng, SIUC chancellor.
The affiliation benefits begin with the availability of advanced cancer care for those needing highly specialized surgery or treatment, provided in a coordinated system.
“We celebrate this affiliation with our colleagues at Southern Illinois Healthcare because our commitment to outreach includes developing a network of affiliates for Simmons Cancer Institute so that downstate citizens have increased access to advanced cancer care services. The first in this network, SIH provides an important location for expanding cancer care options in southern Illinois,” said Dr. J. Kevin Dorsey, dean and provost at the medical school.
When needed, SIH patients can receive care from SIU specialists in Springfield but will still have most of their treatments close to their home. More than 30 SIU specialists lead 11 SCI cancer care teams and have nearly 1,700 patient visits each month.
“This is the kind of partnership that can occur when two very strong institutions, dedicated to high-quality patient care and research, decide to share their resources. It will build on the valuable relationship that SIH already has with the SIU School of Medicine and the SIU Carbondale campus,” said Rex Budde, president and CEO of Southern Illinois Healthcare.
The SIH Cancer Institute offers care at its three community hospitals (Carbondale, Herrin and Murphysboro) and specialty clinics to patients and families in the southern 16 counties of Illinois. It provides a wide spectrum of cancer care services -- prevention, diagnosis and planning, treatment with multidisciplinary teams, support and survivorship, and outreach and education.
“We look forward to the expanded and efficient access to tertiary care that now will be available to those patients who can’t be cared for locally. We also will benefit from the educational opportunities the affiliation provides our medical community and the development of peer-to-peer relationships with SIU specialists,” said Dr. Mary K. Rosenow, SIH Cancer Institute director. She said that SIH currently has more than 700 new cancer cases each year with about 10 percent needing specialized consultation or treatment options not available in southern Illinois.
Rosenow added that the affiliation will help with recruitment of additional subspecialists who provide oncology services to southern Illinois because of the added incentives of academic appointments to the medical school and the collaboration opportunities with SIU.
SIU’s Simmons Cancer Institute currently has 20 open clinical trials and its staff will help with the establishment of a clinical trials office at SIH. There are an additional 100 cancer trials available to SIU and SIH patients through other community oncology programs like Central Illinois Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP), most of which are National Cancer Institute sponsored. SCI also has basic and translational research underway on both SIU campuses. The 75 clinicians and researchers in Springfield and Carbondale who are SCI members have been awarded more than $20 million in national multi-year grant funding as of 2010.
The two partners will work toward multidisciplinary consultation using videoconferenced meetings to discuss newly diagnosed patients. The same technology from SIU’s Telehealth Network will make SCI continuing medical education activities available to SIH clinicians.
“The existing bond between our institutions is strengthened today and signals a continued commitment by the specialists at Simmons Cancer Institute to serve the people who live in the southern region of our state,” said Dr. K. Thomas Robbins, Simmons Cancer Institute director. For several years, Robbins, a head and neck cancer specialist, and several other SCI physician specialists have regularly traveled to the region to see patients.
Robbins said SIH and SCI will collaborate on various programs including evidence-based research, population science, genetic counseling and psycho-oncology programs such as meditation and relaxation. He added that both institutions can also work together on grant opportunities as well as proposals to various non-profit foundations.
The SIH Cancer Institute web site is www.sih.net/home.nsf/content/sihcancerinstitute and its phone number is 877-803-1212.
The Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU web site is www.siumed.edu/cancer and its phone number is 217-545-6000.
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