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Foote Hospital and Local Oncologists to Affiliate with One of Nation's Top Cancer Centers

JACKSON, Mich. - Foote Hospital and Hematology & Oncology Associates, P.C., of Jackson have finalized a formal affiliation agreement with the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. Hematology and Oncology Associates, a five-physician group including Ray H. Clark, M.D., John A. Axelson, M.D., Malcolm S. Trimble, M.D., Grace J. Boxer, M.D., and JoAnn S. Hirth, M.D., were selected to participate in the University of Michigan Cancer Center Network due to their established excellence in providing cancer care and in managing clinical trial participation for their patients.

"This affiliation further promotes our provision of quality cancer care here in Jackson," explained Dr. Ray H. Clark, Medical Director of Cancer Care Services at Foote Hospital. "We anticipate that this agreement will help us continue to provide the most advanced treatment available in Jackson while working closely with the University to provide additional services not currently available here. In addition, we will have a close working relationship between the physicians at the two institutions helping to assure our patients of the newest findings in diagnosis and treatment."

Dr. Clark founded the Jackson-based physician group Hematology and Oncology Associates in 1970 as one of the earliest community-based hematology and oncology programs in the State of Michigan. Oncology-related clinical trial programs (i.e., programs focused on enrolling patients into carefully monitored experimental care plans for the prevention and treatment of most major cancers) have been supported by the group practice since 1978 with a dedicated research support staff. The physician group is affiliated with national cooperative clinical trial groups and private industry in performing National Cancer Institute (NCI) approved clinical trials. Joining the University of Michigan Cancer Center Network will allow additional programs to become available in the community setting.

Max Wicha, M.D., Director of the University of Michigan Cancer Center explained, "As an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center, we provide patients access to extensive clinical research programs including NCI-sponsored high-priority clinical studies, as well as a wide variety of specialized cancer clinics. The formation of this network allows us to expand our programs to local communities like Jackson, making it easier and more convenient for patients to receive care close to home and have access to one of the top cancer care programs in the country."

The University of Michigan Cancer Center, established in 1986, is ranked ninth nationally among cancer centers by U.S. News and World Report, the only cancer center in Michigan to rank in the top ten. In addition, the University of Michigan Cancer Center is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and one of the top centers nationally in grant funding for cancer research.

"The bottom-line winner in this affiliation is the patient," continued Wicha. "This will allow both of our organizations to combine efforts and talent to ensure an even higher quality of care is provided consistently throughout the Cancer Center Network. A good example of this is with clinical trials. The physicians at both Foote Hospital and the University of Michigan have historically participated in numerous clinical trials. This affiliation will allow our organizations to pool resources to better inform and educate patients of the availability of these clinical trials, to jointly recruit more participants into trials, and to better share in the knowledge gained from these trials," said Wicha.

The affiliation agreement is focused on six main objectives:

  • The support and advancement of cancer treatment, detection, prevention and control initiatives within local communities such as Jackson.
  • The joint promotion and increased availability of clinical research trials throughout the Cancer Center Network.
  • The use of standard cancer care guidelines.
  • Fostering an atmosphere of collaboration on cancer treatments and initiatives and the sharing of information for improved quality throughout the network.
  • The commitment of the resources of an academic medical center partner toward the on-going development of high quality community-based cancer care programs.
  • The education of consumers, patients, physicians and other providers about cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and.

"Foote Hospital and the University of Michigan Health System have a long history of cooperative ventures," stated Georgia Fojtasek, Foote Hospital President and CEO. "The Paul Tejada Center for Radiation Oncology has been jointly operated by our organizations since 1995. We view this new affiliation as another great opportunity for Foote Hospital to partner with both our medical staff and an academic medical center to bring high quality cancer care to our community."

"The University of Michigan radiation oncologists practicing in Jackson have an outstanding relationship with Jackson community physicians," said Marc Halman, Administrative Director for both the University of Michigan Department of Radiation Oncology and the University of Michigan Cancer Center Network. "We are excited about this opportunity to strengthen those ties."

Foote Hospital, a not-for-profit, community-owned hospital and service network, was founded in 1918 and offers a wide array of healthcare services including inpatient, outpatient, emergency, home health, urgent care, and behavioral health.

Oncology and Hematology Associates, PC, is an independent group practice and JacksonĀ's largest provider of oncology services. They are located on the second floor of the Foote Health Center, adjacent to Foote Hospital.


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