Message from the Director: Reflecting on the past, looking to the future
By Mark Evers, MD, UK Markey Cancer Center Director
The end of the year is a natural time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future, and this year at Markey, that happened to coincide with a visit from our External Advisory Board (EAB) earlier this month. Our EAB serves an important purpose – their existence is mandated by our National Cancer Institute designation, and their purpose is to guide Markey toward becoming an even better NCI designated center in every way possible.
The 15 members of the EAB are from across the country and hail from other NCI-designated facilities, where they do groundbreaking research, lead impressive research programs, and in some cases serve as the directors of those facilities. Over the past few years, these individuals have advised Markey leadership in areas where we can continue to improve, and in many ways, their visits provide us the perfect opportunity to look both backward at our successes and forward to our challenges at the same time.
Recommendations from a group of advisors like ours can cover everything from the layout of the materials we present to them to our strategic direction – to say it’s wide-ranging would be an understatement. But each year, their feedback helps ensure we become the best possible cancer center for our patients and stay true to our mission of serving Kentuckians in our state’s fight against cancer. This is especially true when it comes to some of the key characteristics of any cancer center, which will remain our guideposts as we think about Markey’s future.
- How closely is our research tied to the serious cancer disparities in both Kentucky and Appalachian Kentucky? How are we addressing those issues?
- Are we doing the best we can to move our research findings toward practical applications in treating cancer?
- And finally, are we effectively educating and engaging our community, patients, caregivers, and medical professionals of all kinds, and are we seeking out valuable collaborations to share what we know with other institutions around the country and the world?
If we focus on those three questions, we can expect to have a very productive year in 2015 and to significantly impact the lives of those individuals in our catchment population as well as those across the country.