Cancer Currents for August 2012

News and Notes from the Director
Photo: Mark Israel, Director of Norris Cotton Cancer Center

When I began talking to people about moving from California and working at the Cancer Center, many folks were ecstatic about "The Prouty." It took only a couple of years before the potential of this remarkable but modest event became obvious. From a locally attended community bicycle ride emerged a marvelous celebration of life by cyclists, walkers, and rowers who raise money from donors in every state to support the Cancer Center.  This year, on Saturday, July 14th, Cancer Center staff members Bruce Bouchard, Rebecca Gray, Catherine Rentz, Christine Telge, and Susan Whelihan were led by the indomitable Jean Brown. They organized 1,200 volunteers to support an event in which more than 5,000 people participated. The Prouty now raises more than $2.5M each year to support NCCC. 

I value immensely the contributions of Cancer Center staff who participate in The Prouty as athletes, volunteers, and donors. Thank you for leading the way. Last year, investigators in virtually every department of the Cancer Center received research support from Prouty funds, and The Prouty is the key funding source for our Patient and Family Support Services program. It's not an exaggeration to say that without your efforts in supporting The Prouty, the Cancer Center would be a very different place! Please enjoy the Sights and Sounds of The Prouty video. The bright faces and camaraderie tell a wonderful story. Thank you so much – see you there next year!

Mark Israel, Director

Prouty Results

Prouty Logo Wow, what a Prouty this year! New records were set all over the place: number of participants, number of volunteers, total contributions by the end of Prouty Day – on and on. The current tally shows that more than 5,000 people participated and more than 1,200 people volunteered. Our unofficial totals show there were more than 3,100 cyclists, 1,900 walkers, 222 "virtuals" (participants who raise funds but participate out of the area), and 125 rowers. Also, there were 108 Prouty Ultimate riders this year, the most ever, and they rode 100 miles on Friday and 100 miles on Saturday in weather that was, shall we say, a bit on the warm and humid side for long bike rides. (There were also five members of Team Hoss who cycled 300 miles.) Among all these groups were literally hundreds of NCCC clinicians, researchers, and staff members.

More than 200 local, regional, and national businesses came together, along with the supporters of our participants, to raise a day-of event record of $2.4 million (and counting) to fund cancer research and patient services at NCCC.

Thank you seems so inadequate to say after such a tremendous show of support for the Cancer Center. But the place our Thank you comes from is the very deepest in our heart. You are all wonderful beyond words. Thank you!

Operation VOICE

As part of NCCC's "Oncolution" effort within the Quality Improvement and Patient Safety program, a dedicated team earlier this month launched Operation VOICE (Voice Opportunity for Improvement of the Customer Experience). Already they've organized and completed two pilot projects, Early Pharmacy Notification and Clinic to Infusion Handoff. The team has also reviewed the dashboard containing operational measures to monitor performance over time. There are new communication efforts, too, and a focus on lab order readiness and mini room relocation.

This is a major initiative to improve the experience of our patients at the Cancer Center in terms of efficiency. Hats off to Operation VOICE team members Sara Roebuck, David Fittro, Jim Neilson, Kate Turgeon, Paula Caron, Heather Lakin, Lori Jakubowski, Dawn DeFelice, Megan Goodrich, Wendy Poitras, Cory Howarth, and Deb Dingee for working so hard on behalf of our patients and staff.    

Christopher Amos Chris Amos, new Associate Director

When you have an opportunity, say hello to Christopher Amos, PhD, the new Associate Director for Population Sciences at NCCC. He comes to us from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where he was a professor of bioinformatics and computational biology and of epidemiology. Over the course of his career, he has studied genetic causes of prostate, head and neck, lung, and colon cancers, as well as Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, which increases the risk of polyps and multiple cancers. Dr. Amos earned his BA in mathematics from Reed College in Portland, Ore., and his MD and PhD, both in Biometry, from LSU Medical Center in New Orleans, La. He is the author or co-author of many published research papers. His expertise and insights will be of great value to NCCC and we look forward to integrating Dr. Amos into our program.

Fond Farewell to Michael Ward

Michael Ward, vice president of cancer operations at NCCC, has been such a warm and familiar presence for so long at Dartmouth-Hitchcock that it's truly difficult to imagine the place without him. But we will more than have to imagine it: Michael will retire from his long and distinguished career on July 31. Michael Ward

Michael established eight of the 17 locations for Norris Cotton Cancer Center, the most recent being in Vermont's northernmost tip (Newport) and New Hampshire's southernmost city (Nashua). Under his leadership we experienced tremendous growth in regional cancer centers, providing convenient, safe access to comprehensive care in some of the most remote locations in northern New England. As a hands-on leader, Michael is respected for his authenticity and accessibility.  When he is most needed, he is right there, such as this past fall when the pharmacy encountered staffing issues.

After dedicating 30 years to Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Michael looks forward to spending time with family and friends. An avid outdoorsman, we expect he'll be polishing up his kayak and bicycle for trips to Maine and beyond. And, who knows, now that he has given up the day job, we may see him strumming that guitar more often around town. We hope so, because he will be so sorely missed. 

Cancer Ground Rounds Moving to Tuesdays in 2013

This is early notice but worth noting now: Cancer Grand Rounds, which has been held on Thursdays at noon for several years, will move to Tuesdays at noon beginning in January 2013. The location will still be Auditorium E at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and the start time will remain noon.

Dartmouth College Logo New Dartmouth College Background Check Policy

Beginning August 1, 2012, Dartmouth College will conduct thorough background checks of all finalists for new positions and all current Dartmouth employees who have not already undergone a background check. The check will include checking any or all parts of the finalist's employment references and employment, educational, criminal, sex and violent offender, credit, and license histories. The nature and scope of the background check will be determined by Dartmouth and will be appropriate to the position.

According to the College, background checks are now required on the finalists for all staff positions, except temporary employees not directly paid by Dartmouth, student employees, and unpaid interns and volunteers, unless background checks are required by state or federal law, or an accrediting body.

A background check will also be required on a current employee of Dartmouth if he/she is promoted into a new position and if he/she has not already had a background check. Current employees who are transferred or promoted will be required to have a background check if they have never had a background check before. Subsequent background checks will be required only if the current employee is promoted or transfers into a position with substantially different responsibilities and if the new position requires additional background checks, such as a license or credit check. If additional background checks are not required, a current employee will not be required to have a background check if they have had one within the two (2) years immediately preceding their application. 

"Dartmouth is committed to ensuring that its academic and research missions are supported by qualified staff members and that its community is as safe as possible," the College stated in the new policy announcement. "Dartmouth is also committed to taking meaningful actions to protect its finances, property, and other assets. Conducting pre-employment background checks for all staff positions is an important step toward achieving those goals."

More information is available from Dartmouth College's Office of Human Resources. The office will conduct a Background Check Policy training session at DHMC on Monday, July 30; those who are directly involved in the hiring process are welcome as are interested faculty and directors. Contact Human Resources for registration information.

Compliance Education Modules

The new schedule of 2012 Dartmouth-Hitchcock Compliance Education Modules has been announced. All faculty and staff working in any DHMC facility, including the Cancer Center, are required to annually complete these eLearning modules, as required by The Joint Commission. In addition, certain grant applications will not be accepted unless all members of a laboratory are compliant with institutional health and safety guidelines. These include members of a laboratory who are employees of: Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic, and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.

Here's the complete list of modules to be completed by October 31, 2012.

Upcoming Events of Note
August 19: Green Mountain Motorcycle RideGMMR Logo

Please join us in August 2012 for the 10th Annual Green Mountain Motorcycle Ride. This scenic route will take riders through the mountains and countryside of Vermont and New Hampshire.

Sunday August 19, 2012
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Visit the Green Mountain Motorcycle Ride site at for information and to sign up.

Alliance run logo September 9: The Alliance Against Cancer 5K Run

The New Hampshire Athletic Alliance Running Club sponsors The Prouty Alliance Against Cancer 5K walk/run road race in Manchester, NH. The event includes cash prizes, awards, T-shirts, lots of refreshments, music, and FUN!

Sunday September 9, 2012
8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Visit the Alliance Against Cancer 5K site for information and to sign up.