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St. Joseph's, University of Michigan's cancer programs sign affiliation agreement

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS) has signed an affiliation agreement with the University of Michigan Health System to become the newest member of the University of Michigan Cancer Center Network, a growing group of select hospitals and physician practices throughout the region dedicated to improving cancer care.

"This affiliation will allow our two institutions to continue to work closely together to improve the quality of cancer research, prevention, detection and treatment in the community," says Philip Stella, M.D., medical director, Oncology Program, SJMHS.

The combined strengths of these two organizations will provide more patients with access to high-priority clinical research studies, as well as state-of-the-art treatment guidelines. U-M is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), a group of 17 of the country┬'s leading cancer centers charged with developing guidelines for nearly every type of cancer. SJMHS has been a Community Clinical Oncology Program since 1994, providing St. Joe┬'s with access to National Cancer Institute (NCI) approved clinical trials. "With St. Joe┬'s success with and dedication to clinical research, and the University┬'s outstanding cancer research programs, this formal affiliation will benefit both organizations, the community and society," says Stella, who also serves as research director for the U-M Cancer Center Network.

"Physicians at the University of Michigan have a long history of developing innovative cancer therapies based on strong basic science research," says Max S. Wicha, M.D., director of the U-M Cancer Center, one of the state┬'s two NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers. "Our affiliation with St. Joe┬'s will help speed the transfer of these new treatments into an excellent community setting where they can have the greatest impact on patients┬' lives."

Through the affiliation with the U-M, SJMHS will become one of only two community hospitals in the country to participate in NCCN┬'s Outcomes Database study, which monitors and integrates treatment guidelines and enters results into a database. By utilizing the database, the NCCN will be able to translate the guidelines into a powerful resource for quality enhancements and cost monitoring in cancer care. U-M Cancer Center experts were involved in the development of the guidelines and currently participate in the Outcomes Database through their NCCN membership.

"Cancer patients have always let us know how important they think it is for our two institutions to work together. In fact, the U-M and St. Joe┬'s have been collaborating in the field of cancer for more than five years," says Wicha. "This agreement solidifies and expands our relationship, so that patients can now be assured of receiving the most comprehensive care, regardless of which facility they choose to seek treatment."

"The ultimate beneficiary is the community. Together, St. Joe┬'s and the University can enhance access to state-of-the-art clinical trials and cutting-edge therapy," says Stella. "The guideline initiatives have the potential to improve quality while containing costs. Thus, everyone wins when we work together."

Other initiatives between the two organizations include gynecologic oncology services and a cancer genetics clinic.

SJMHS joins Foote Hospital in Jackson, Mt. Clemens General Hospital, and Providence Health System in Novi and Southfield as current members of the University of Michigan Cancer Center Network.

 

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