Spring 2015 Newsletter

Emory Radiation Oncology Launches New Mobile-Friendly Website

New Mobile-Friendly Website

Check out the new Department of Radiation Oncology mobile-friendly website! You can now upload patient records and search for a physician by specialty or location. The site also features a live news stream as well as an enhanced patient education section with more about radiation therapies offered at Winship.

Explore the site at radiationoncology.emory.edu.


Leadership Changes and Appointments

Cassels and GressAfter nearly 23 years, Diane Cassels has stepped down as clinical administrator in the Department of Radiation Oncology. She will continue to serve as executive administrator of Winship Cancer Institute and interim vice president for the Winship Cancer Service Line. Kelli Gress assumed the role of the new department clinical administrator in February.

Other appointments in the Department of Radiation Oncology: Natia Esiashvili, MD, will serve as the inaugural chief quality control officer for clinics aligned with Emory Healthcare. Kristin Higgins, MD, was named medical director of the department’s clinical program on the Clifton Road campus. She follows Ian Crocker, MD, who continues to serve as vice chair of the department.


New Campaign Asks...Why Winship?

Have you seen the new “Why Winship” marketing campaign? We asked our faculty what they think makes Winship Cancer Institute so special.

Watch what they have to say.


Crocker Receives Awards for Velocity Acquisition

Ian Crocker, MD

Velocity Medical Solutions’ 2014 acquisition by Varian Medical Systems was recognized with a “Significant Event of 2014” award from Emory's Office of Technology Transfer at the Annual Celebration of Technology and Innovation on March 4, 2015. Velocity also received a “Deals of the Year” award from Georgia Bio at their Annual Awards Dinner in January. Ian Crocker, MD, is a founding member of Velocity Medical Solutions with former Director of Physics, Tim Fox, PhD, and software engineer Paul Pantalone.

Read more in the article, “When Medicine Goes High Tech.”


International Pediatric Grant for Esiashvili

Natia Esiashvili, MD

Natia Esiashvili, MD, will travel to Slovenia in June to participate in a rare, hands-on teaching experience with pediatric radiation oncologists. A $30,000 grant from the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) which will fund the training program.

Read more in the article, “International Grant for Esiashvili.”


Ya Wang Joins Emory 1% MilliPub Club

Researcher Ya Wang, PhD, is the recipient of the 2014 Emory MilliPub Club 1% Award. The MilliPub Club recognizes current Emory faculty who have published one or more individual papers throughout their careers that have each garnered more than 1,000 citations. The 1% Award recognizes faculty with National Institutes of Health (NIH) proposals that have been ranked in the top 1% by reviewers. William Dynan, PhD, Paula Vertino, PhD, and Xingming Deng, PhD, were recipients of the award in 2012.


Video Tool Improves Health Literacy in Prostate Patients

A study by Ashesh Jani, MD, Winship urologist Viraj Master, MD, PhD, and epidemiologist Michael Goodman, MD, MPH, shows that a video-based tool developed for prostate cancer patients significantly improved their understanding of key terms related to their treatment. The study was published in Cancer, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.


Winship Tops National Clinical Trials Network Enrollment

Under the direction of principal investigators Drs. Jonathan Beitler, Suresh Ramalingam and Charles Staley, Winship Cancer Institute is the recipient of one of 30 inaugural Lead Academic Participating Site (LAPS) grants from the National Cancer Institute. Reports from the first ten months of grant activity show that Winship’s enrollment is 9th among National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) member institutions and 7th among fellow LAPS sites.


Combination Therapy Highlighted in ASCO Annual Progress Report

Department Chair and Winship Executive Director, Walter J. Curran, Jr., MD, is the senior author of a paper featured in the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Progress Report that shows survival is extended for certain patients with low grade brain tumors who are treated with a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The abstract was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. ASCO notes that combination therapy has proven “enormously effective against many types of cancer.”


Dynan Lab Receives NASA Grant

William Dynan, PhD, and his lab have been awarded a 3-year, $1.15 million grant from NASA to investigate “Exosomes and secretory factors as mediators of non-targeted effects of HZE particles” as part of a NASA program devoted to understanding and counteracting health issues from multi-year space exploration missions. Dynan and Ya Wang, PhD, were invited to talk at NASA’s human research program investigator’s workshop in January.

Read more in the Winship Newsroom.


Patient Feedback

From Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center:

“I wish to express my personal and sincere gratitude and appreciation to the very fine members of your VA medical care staff… for the special care I have received from the physicians and staff of your hospital over the past few months.”

“…I would like to thank Dr. Bruce Hershatter who took so much time explaining the radiation process to me. I thank you Dr. Hershatter for not rushing me and for allowing this decision to be made by me and my wife.”

Hats off to:

“Nurse Larry Starke, who is such a very nice person and such an inspiration. He always greeted me with a wonderful smile. Not just me, Nurse Starke treated all the other patients so kindly and with respect.”

Cheryl Davis, radiation therapist,…[who] shows so much love to everyone.”

Leena Burns, radiation therapist, [who] is another person who truly loves her job. She is so nice and kind to all of her patients. After my treatments, she would walk me to the door and tell me to have a very nice day.”

From Winship at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital:

Sandra Parker and Nuit [Luangruangrong] are exceptionally skilled, personable, and reassuring in a stressful medical environment…The best that I have seen anywhere.”

“All the staff at Radiation Oncology has been exceptional, from Rhonda [Payne] in reception to Dr. Shannon Kahn. I am so pleased my radiation was with this group of fine individuals.”

From Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University (main campus):

"Dr. Higgins, you are truly at the top of your field. But, more importantly, you are extremely empathetic, which is every bit as important."

From Winship at Emory University Hospital Midtown:

“Thanks again [Jonathan Beitler, MD], wanted to let you know that all is progressing well… I will not miss driving downtown every morning at 6:30, but am very grateful that you made mention of this [referral to the hyperbaric center]…and your ongoing participation in the SPOHNC [Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck Cancer] group and your recommendations.”

“Dr. Monica Rizzo and Dr. Jonathan Beitler are caring individuals with exceptional skill and professionalism, I am grateful for their expertise and compassion…[and] feel privileged to have them as my primary doctors.”
Send newsletter submissions and inquiries to mila.rossi@emory.edu.