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MD Anderson’s Moon Shots and EndTobacco® Programs


Watch discussions hosted by experts from MD Anderson on their groundbreaking Moon Shots and EndTobacco® programs

Moon Shots Program 

MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program is an unprecedented, comprehensive assault to significantly reduce cancer deaths and transform cancer care. Moon Shot teams pursue innovative projects prioritized for greatest patient impact, including groundbreaking clinical trials of new cancer immunotherapies, targeted therapies and combinations. Longer-term collaborations to heighten molecular understanding of cancers and therapies aim to further improve translational research and move scientific findings into the clinic. Many Moon Shots also include prevention and early detection projects. Specialized platforms provide infrastructure, systems and strategy. 

The ultimate goal is to apply knowledge gained from this process to all cancers. Moon Shots efforts will help support all other cancer research at MD Anderson. Funding is from private philanthropy, institutional earnings, competitive research grants and commercialization of new discoveries. The Moon Shots Program’s 12 areas of focus are acute myeloid leukemia (AML) / myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), B-cell lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), colorectal cancer, glioblastoma, high-risk multiple myeloma, human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cancers, melanoma, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, triple negative breast and high-grade serous ovarian cancers. 

The Moon Shots Program’s 12 areas of focus are acute myeloid leukemia (AML) / myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), B-cell lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), colorectal cancer, glioblastoma, high-risk multiple myeloma, human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cancers, melanoma, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, triple negative breast and high-grade serous ovarian cancers. 

Panel 1: Moon Shots

Dr. Garcia is the inaugural executive director of the Cancer Prevention and Control Platform and a member of the leadership team for MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program. A vital component of the Moon Shots, the platform develops and implements community-focused, research-based programs to advance cancer prevention, screening, early detection and survivorship. Dr. Garcia joined MD Anderson in August 2015.

Garcia began his medical career as an obstetrician/gynecologist and then become the commissioner for the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health. After serving as the deputy director for the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization in Washington, D.C., he moved into the corporate sector.

President George W. Bush appointed Garcia as the 13th U.S. assistant secretary for health. At the same time, he was appointed as a four-star Admiral for the United States Public Health Service and as the U.S. Representative to the World Health Organization. During this time, and as the highest ranking medical and public health official in the U.S., Garcia led more than 6,220 U.S. Public Service Commissioned Corps officers in the U.S. and in 88 countries for the protection, promotion and advancement of health.

Following his government service, Dr. Garcia returned to his native Puerto Rico and served as the president and dean of medicine for Ponce School of Medicine and Health Sciences. In 2012, he moved back to Washington, D.C. to serve as the director and chief medical officer for the Washington, D.C. Department of Health and as a founding partner with Aegis Health Security.

 

 

Dr. Heymach is professor and chair of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology and professor of Cancer Biology. He co-leads the Lung Cancer Moon Shot. He joined MD Anderson in 2005. As a physician-scientist, his research focuses on investigating mechanisms of therapeutic resistance to targeted agents, understanding the regulation of angiogenesis in lung cancer, and the development of biomarkers for selecting patients most likely to benefit from targeted agents. He has led a number of Phase I / II clinical trials in non-small cell lung cancer. Dr. Heymach is a project co-leader on the Lung Cancer SPORE (Specialized Programs of Research Excellence) grant awarded by the National Cancer Institute and a site leader on

As a physician-scientist, his research focuses on investigating mechanisms of therapeutic resistance to targeted agents, understanding the regulation of angiogenesis in lung cancer, and the development of biomarkers for selecting patients most likely to benefit from targeted agents. He has led a number of Phase I / II clinical trials in non-small cell lung cancer. Dr. Heymach is a project co-leader on the Lung Cancer SPORE (Specialized Programs of Research Excellence) grant awarded by the National Cancer Institute and a site leader on a SU2C (Stand Up to Cancer) award.

Heymach received his MD and PhD from Stanford University Medical School and his undergraduate degree from Harvard. He completed his internship and residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and clinical fellowship in oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

 

 

 

Dr. Litton, associate professor of Breast Medical Oncology, leads a number of projects under the Moon Shot targeting breast cancer. She also is a faculty member in Clinical Cancer Genetics at MD Anderson and in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. She joined MD Anderson in 2007. Litton’s research interests center around the treatment of young breast cancer patients, particularly the treatment of breast cancer during pregnancy. She also focuses on infertility and hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndromes. She is director of the Breast Medical Oncology Education Program and serves as a member of MD Anderson’s Clinical Research Committee and Faculty Senate. Litton graduated from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and completed an Internal Medicine Residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. She then completed a clinical fellowship at MD Anderson. She graduated from Duke University with bachelor’s degrees in History and English.

Litton’s research interests center around the treatment of young breast cancer patients, particularly the treatment of breast cancer during pregnancy. She also focuses on infertility and hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndromes. She is director of the Breast Medical Oncology Education Program and serves as a member of MD Anderson’s Clinical Research Committee and Faculty Senate. Litton graduated from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and completed an Internal Medicine Residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. She then completed a clinical fellowship at MD Anderson. She graduated from Duke University with bachelor’s degrees in History and English.

Litton graduated from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and completed an Internal Medicine Residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. She then completed a clinical fellowship at MD Anderson. She graduated from Duke University with bachelor’s degrees in History and English.

 


 


EndTobacco®

As part of MD Anderson’s Moon Shots Program, the Cancer Prevention and Control Platform is focused on developing and implementing evidence-based interventions in cancer prevention, screening, early detection and survivorship, to achieve a measurable and lasting reduction in the cancer burden.

The use of tobacco is one of the greatest public health menaces of our time, driving 30 percent of all cancer cases in the United States. This year, tobacco will kill 480,000 Americans and six million people worldwide. In the coming five decades, the use of tobacco will result in 500 million premature deaths worldwide, mostly in low- and middle-income countries. 

A multidisciplinary team working under the Cancer Prevention and Control Platform developed EndTobacco, a program which recommends strategic and tactical actions in the areas of policy, education and community-based clinical services that MD Anderson can take to end tobacco use within the institution, across Texas, the nation and the world.

Among the first EndTobacco initiatives was MD Anderson’s tobacco-free hiring policy. Beginning January 1, 2015, applicants receiving an offer are screened to ensure they are tobacco free. Applicants who test positive for tobacco beyond what is acceptable with tobacco cessation therapies are not eligible for hire but may reapply after 180 days. They also are offered smoking cessation assistance. This change reinforces MD Anderson’s commitment to provide a healthy workplace and more comfortable environment for patients and visitors.

Panel 2: End Tobacco

Dr. Hawk is vice president and division head for Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences. He also co-leads the Cancer Prevention and Control Platform, a component of the MD Anderson Moon Shots Program, and leads the Duncan Family Institute for Cancer Prevention and Risk Assessment. The platform advances community health promotion and cancer control through evidence-based public policy, public and professional education, and community-based service implementation. He came to MD Anderson in 2007.

Prior to joining MD Anderson, Dr. Hawk held several positions at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), including director of the Office of Centers, Training and Resources. He also was Chief and medical officer in the Gastrointestinal and Other Cancers Research Group, medical officer in the Chemoprevention Branch and chair of the Translational Research Working Group.

A native of Detroit, Dr. Hawk earned his bachelor’s and medical degrees at Wayne State University and his master of public health degree at Johns Hopkins University. He completed an internal medicine internship and residency at Emory University, a medical oncology clinical fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco, and a cancer prevention fellowship at the NCI.

 

 

With more than 15 years of experience working in the public health and tobacco control arenas, Ms. Cofer is the director of EndTobacco®, a program of the Cancer Prevention and Control Platform. She and her team work with internal and external partners to promote tobacco control initiatives and evidence-based best practices in policy, prevention and cessation. She joined MD Anderson in 2015.

Prior to joining MD Anderson, Ms. Cofer spent more than a decade at the American Lung Association working in a variety of management and leadership positions. Under the Plains-Gulf Coast Region charter, from 2010-2014, she was vice president of Public Policy overseeing government relations and advocacy efforts in a nine-state region. She also served as executive director of the Mississippi Lung Association chapter from 2005 – 2010, before the Plains-Gulf Region charter formed.

Ms. Cofer played a key role in several public health policy wins throughout the Southeast while at the Lung Association. Her most significant contribution was to lead the Smoke Free New Orleans coalition from 2014-2015. The coalition influenced the Mayor and City Council of New Orleans to adopt a comprehensive smoke free ordinance, including e-cigarettes, prohibiting smoking in all bars and gaming facilities. She also contributed to smoke-free campaigns in Birmingham, Jackson, Tupelo, Hattiesburg, Oxford and other communities in the Southeast. Ms. Cofer began her career at The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi.

She received her bachelor’s degree in Health Education & Administration and Masters in Public Health from the University of Southern Mississippi. She has been a Certified Health Educator Specialist since 1999 and a Certified Asthma Educator since 2007.