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Ruben A. Mesa, M.D., FACP, became director of the UT Health Cancer Center on Aug. 23. Dr. Mesa came from Arizona where he served as deputy director of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center. He also served as professor of medicine and chair of the Division of Hematology & Medical Oncology at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona.
President William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, said, “We are pleased to welcome Dr. Mesa to our cancer center, to UT Health and to San Antonio. In addition to his superb leadership, Dr. Mesa is an international expert on myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) and will bring with him a sizeable patient-centered research program to San Antonio.”
Dr. Mesa has been a principal investigator or co-principal investigator in more than 70 clinical trials for patients and has led in obtaining FDA approval on several new cancer drugs. “Dr. Mesa’s activities include significant roles serving as a patient advocate in cancer care helping communities, states and governments better understand and plan for the burden of this dreadful disease. He is highly engaged and demonstrates a commitment to serving the needs of patients compassionately,” Dr. Henrich said.
Dr. Mesa earned Bachelor of Science degrees in nuclear engineering and physiology, with minors in radiation biophysics and bioengineering, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his medical degree, completed his residency in internal medicine and fulfilled his fellowship in hematology/medical oncology from the Mayo Graduate School at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in internal medicine and medical oncology.
While awaiting Dr. Mesa’s recent arrival, members of the Joe R. & Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine have been overseeing pre-operations preparations for the affiliation of the school’s cancer center with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
The launching of the operational phase of the MD Anderson Cancer Center affiliation is expected to occur in late 2017 or early 2018. Until those operations begin, the cancer center is currently being called the UT Health Cancer Center.
The affiliation will provide increased access to MD Anderson’s treatment protocols, standards of care, extensive clinical trials and translational research in San Antonio. Patients will have access to the MD Anderson model of patient-centered, comprehensive care provided by multidisciplinary teams that will provide a new dimension in innovative care and treatment options.
Dr. Henrich noted the agreement brings new funding from the UT System and private sources to improve the San Antonio center’s infrastructure, including a newly renovated Patient & Family Welcome Center, an expanded and more efficient pharmacy, an infusion center designed around patient experience, a diagnostic suite, and a wayfinding system to help patients navigate more easily.