Dear RBHS Colleagues:
The Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) strategic plan outlines an ambitious goal to join the ranks of the best academic health centers in the nation while improving the health of the citizens of New Jersey. As you know, New Jersey has the ninth highest cancer rate in the United States. While the cancer incidence rate is down since its peak in 1991, it is estimated that 51,000 New Jersey residents will contract cancer in 2015, with an estimated 16,000 deaths. A focus on cancer is one of the signature areas of the RBHS strategic plan, where we are well positioned to assume a national leadership role. This is an area in which RBHS can make a significant impact on the treatment, prevention, and understanding the biomedical origins of cancer.
To further our progress in this critical area of clinical care and research, I am pleased to announce that Robert S. DiPaola, MD, Director of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, will take on an additional role as the RBHS Vice Chancellor for Cancer Programs. Dr. DiPaola will report directly to me in this new administrative role and will provide leadership to cancer programs across RBHS. Dr. DiPaola will continue to serve as Director of Rutgers Cancer Institute as well as expanding the footprint of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey to the RBHS Newark Campus. He will be creating new connections among the RBHS schools and institutes with particular emphasis on combining strengths to create areas that are nationally "best-in-class," adding value for statewide research and clinical care for the patients of New Jersey. He will be working to increase multi-disciplinary collaborative cancer research including NIH-funded basic science, clinical and translational, and population research and enhance collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry on research, drug discovery, and clinical trials.
Dr. DiPaola has been the Director of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, our State’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center with considerable research and national leadership accomplishments. He is a national expert in prostate cancer and translational research; has maintained continuous federal funding, including a current NCI UM1 grant in experimental therapeutics; and high impact publications in prominent journals including the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Cell, Clinical Cancer Research, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology, some of which have transformed standards of care. Dr. DiPaola has held multiple local and national positions including the founding Director and Program leader of the Prostate Cancer Center at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey (1996-2008); National Chairman of the Genitourinary Committee of the Eastern Oncology Cooperative Group (2004-2011); Chief of Medical Oncology at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (2006–Current); and was appointed as Director of the Cancer Institute of New Jersey in 2008, after a national search. Dr. DiPaola led the Cancer Institute through a successful NCI review and through a successful integration in Rutgers. His emphasis on cross campus collaboration has already led to success in programmatic research activities through partnerships with multiple schools and institutes in Rutgers (including a precision medicine initiative with the Human Genetics Institute of New Jersey and RWJMS); with the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton for systems biology; and a consortium with Princeton University, as a few examples. Nationally, as Chairman of the Genitourinary (GU) Committee of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) for a term from 2004 until 2011, he led the committee through two NCI reviews and launched multiple national phase III studies. He was a full member of multiple NCI steering committees, including the investigational drug steering committee and the Genitourinary steering committee, and was chairman of an NCI apoptosis and autophagy task force. He is currently a full member of the National Cancer Institute's subcommittee A (parent committee) for Cancer Center reviews, and was the 2014 chair for the American Society of Clinical Oncology's GU program committee and 2014 program chair for the Association of American Cancer Institutes.
Please join me in congratulating Dr. DiPaola on this new role, we look forward to achieving new levels of excellence and accomplishment in all our cancer programs across RBHS.
Brian L. Strom, MD, MPH