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Derek Raghavan, MD, to lead Carolinas HealthCare's Levine Cancer Institute
December 14, 2010

CHARLOTTE -- Dr. Derek Raghavan, a world-renowned expert on cancer, has been named President of Levine Cancer Institute, which was established by Carolinas HealthCare System this fall with a $20 million grant from the Leon Levine Foundation. For the past six years, Raghavan has been Chairman and Director of the Taussig Cancer Center at Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.

Under his leadership, the Taussig Cancer Center progressed from a rating of # 46 to # 9 in U.S. News & World Report’s national ranking of top cancer hospitals. In addition, during the last six years, he has recruited more than 70 top cancer specialists to the Cleveland Clinic.

Raghavan is highly sought after as a consultant on cancer and currently serves on the external advisory boards of cancer centers at Washington University in St. Louis; Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., San Antonio Cancer Institute; University of Miami; and Virginia Commonwealth University. He serves on the editorial boards of numerous medical journals, has been a principal investigator for more than a dozen major research grants, and has published hundreds of peer-reviewed articles in professional journals.

The search for a president to lead the new Institute has been ongoing since the Oct. 4 announcement. Michael C. Tarwater, Chief Executive Officer of CHS, said Dr. Raghavan was chosen from a large field of top cancer professionals from across the country. “His leadership, his clinical and research expertise, and his vision for cancer treatment led us to conclude he was the right candidate to lead Levine Cancer Institute,” Tarwater said.

New facilities are being added at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte to accommodate the Institute, to expand research capabilities, and to enhance the treatments available for rare and complex cancers. The Institute will also enhance community-based cancer care in CHS communities throughout the Carolinas.

Carolinas HealthCare plans to invest approximately $500 million over the next decade to improve cancer treatment, research and education.

The $20 million grant from the Levine Foundation is the largest philanthropic gift ever awarded by that organization. It was accompanied by a commitment from community volunteers to raise an additional $5 million in endowment funds.

Raghavan trained in Australia and England as a clinical and research medical oncologist before coming to the United States. He attended college and medical school at the University of Sydney. He served residencies in oncology in Sydney, London and Minneapolis, and holds a Ph.D. from the University of London.

Before joining the Cleveland Clinic, he served as Chief of Investigational Therapeutics and Chief of the Department of Solid Tumor Oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute from 1991 to 1997. From 1997 to 2004, he was Professor and Chief, Division of Oncology and Associate Director for Clinical Research at the University of Southern California and Norris Cancer Center in Los Angeles.

The Taussig Cancer Center at Cleveland Clinic is designated by the National Cancer Institute as a “Comprehensive Cancer Center,” which is NCI’s highest designation. Raghavan is currently a member of the National Cancer Institute Clinical Oncology Grants Review Committee and is a former chair of the Cancer Clinical Investigations Review Committee.

Raghavan has served as a visiting professor at numerous universities and has been an invited speaker at professional conferences worldwide. He is a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
He was attracted to CHS by “the opportunity to build a program that can truly transform cancer care and cancer patient outcomes,” he said.

“I have been tremendously impressed by the depth and quality of resources that are available at Carolinas HealthCare,” he added. “What is significant about Levine Cancer Institute is that it builds on the achievements of excellent physicians and staff at affiliated cancer centers throughout the entire system. We have an opportunity that is historically unique to take cancer care to a new level in the Carolinas. There is no doubt that as a unified team we can provide other cancer programs throughout the country with an extraordinary model to emulate.”

Alexandra Levine, MD, MACP, Chief Medical Officer at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, Calif., praised Raghavan for his “vast experience, solid reputation, strong personality and vigor.” These qualities, she added, “make him an excellent person to succeed in this new position.”

Donald Trump, MD, FACP, President and CEO of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, said Raghavan is “a superb communicator who is able to see the big picture and the long term goals of an organization, pull programs together, and work well with both community-based physicians and academicians.”

Leon Levine said he “could not be more pleased” with the selection.
“I was especially impressed,” Levine said, “by his ability to recruit a team of highly capable, highly enthusiastic colleagues with uncommon levels of expertise in a wide variety of cancer specialties. This fits the vision that Sandra and I have for the advancement of healthcare in this region.”

Raghavan is expected to start at LCI in April 2011.
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