“Everybody in academic medicine knows about the DCI. It’s legendary,” said executive vice president of DUHS Craig Albanese, MD, who took the podium after Kastan. “There’s so much to be proud of in the last 50 years — the research, the training, the breakthrough treatments, and the exceptional cancer support services.”
Albanese also singled out the DCI’s thriving community partnerships.
“Our strategic work with community organizations is critical. It’s part of our mission. It’s fundamental to the fabric of the organization. We should be proud of that,” he said. “The DCI’s Community Outreach, Engagement, and Equity program is a national leader in addressing inequities in prevention and treatment through health education, cancer screening for early detection, and ensuring that people have access to primary care. And as a health system, our focus is on health equity, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s really critical for the health of our community. And in fact, it’s critical for the health of our nation. So, let’s all extend our gratitude towards those who do this profound and meaningful work.”
“What do I see for the future? It’s going to be a different future, a future based largely on automation, digital health, genomic studies, personalized care,” predicted Albanese, a seasoned healthcare executive and distinguished academic pediatric surgeon. “But in the end, it is compassion, empathy, patient experience, access, and community advancement that’s going to continue to make us who we are and make us unique…Certainly, if the last 50 years are any indication, I can’t wait to see what the next 50 years will bring.”
Mary Klotman, MD, dean of the Duke University School of Medicine, rounded out the speakers’ program with a deeper dive back in time. She traced the history of cancer care and research back to 1937 when one of the first brain tumor centers in the country was founded (Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center), and to 1947 when the first training program for medical students focused on clinical cancer care was established — all decades before the NCI designation.