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Levine Cancer Institute Announces Clinical Leadership Team

Nationally recognized cancer leaders will join Carolinas HealthCare System’s (CHS) Levine Cancer Institute to play key roles in its solid tumor, hematologic malignancy, biostatistics and pharmacology groups, expanding the research capacity and treatment offerings available to cancer patients across the Southeast. The Institute, formed in 2010 by CHS, works with affiliated hospitals and providers to facilitate innovations and enhance the quality and convenience of cancer care.

“The Institute is working to define the future of cancer care — where innovations in research and treatment are brought closer to home for patients,” said Derek Raghavan, MD, PhD, Institute president. “While there are many integral components to building a leading cancer program, one of the most important pieces is attracting and keeping outstanding leaders, who will in turn build a dedicated team of physicians and staff. We are excited to have these experts in cancer care lead our clinical teams and drive innovation and excellence in the care we deliver to our patients.”

Joining the Institute from the University of Texas MD Anderson Comprehensive Cancer Center effective July 2 is Edward S. Kim, MD, who will serve as chair of the Department of Solid Tumor Oncology. Dr. Kim is recognized as a national leader in molecular prognostication for lung cancer and specializes in thoracic oncology and head and neck cancers. In his previous role as professor and oncologist at MD Anderson, he also served as the center's principal investigator for Southwest Oncology Group, one of the largest of the National Cancer Institute-supported cancer clinical trials cooperative groups. Dr. Kim's clinical trial experience will strengthen the robust clinical trials program currently in place at the Institute. Named a top physician by U.S. News & World Report, Dr. Kim received his medical degree from Northwestern University through the Honors Program in Medical Education. He completed his residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and a medical oncology fellowship at MD Anderson.

Edward A. Copelan, MD, FACP, will join the Institute in September from a leadership role at the Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Institute and will serve as chair of the Department of Hematologic Oncology and Blood Disorders. His clinical specialties include bone marrow transplantation, leukemia, multiple myeloma and myelodysplastic syndromes. Named a top doctor by U.S. News & World Report; Best Doctors in America; and Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., America’s Top Doctors, Dr. Copelan received his medical degree with honors from Tufts University in Boston. Following his residency at Ohio State University Hospital in Columbus, he completed fellowships in hematology and oncology at Ohio State University Hospitals and bone marrow transplantation at UCLA.

Belinda Avalos, MD, who will also join the Institute in September, will join the Institute’s team as vice chair of the Department of Hematologic Oncology. Previously of Ohio State University Hospital’s James Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dr. Avalos specializes in hematology and bone marrow transplantation. She will lead the Institute’s efforts to develop collaborative research initiatives with scientists at The University of North Carolina-Charlotte, and around understanding the stem cell biology of blood disorders. Dr. Avalos received her medical degree from Ohio State University as a member of the Alpha Omega Medical Honor Society. She completed her residency at Ohio State University Hospital and a hematology fellowship at the University of Washington in Seattle, as well as a hematology-oncology fellowship at Ohio State University Hospital and the University of California-Los Angeles.

James Symanowski, PhD, will join the Institute in September as chair of the Department of Biostatistics. Dr. Symanowski was formerly the director of the Biostatistics Core and of the Clinical Trials Office at the Nevada Cancer Institute. He has a long history of leadership in laboratory, translational, clinical, and population sciences areas of cancer research and consults internationally in the field. He received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from The College of William and Mary, and both his master’s and doctorate degrees in statistics from Iowa State University.

Rounding out the clinical leadership team, Ram Ganapathi, PhD, FAAAS, and Mahrukh Ganapathi, PhD, both from the Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Center, will join the Institute’s pharmacology lab team in July. The pharmacology team will drive an increased understanding of the science of oncology drug interactions and effectiveness.

“We are building a world-class team of clinicians and researchers. We welcome these talented new additions and look forward to collaborating with them to benefit our teams and our research efforts, and ultimately, the care of our patients,” said Dr. Raghavan.

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