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Christ Hospital joins Dana-Farber Cancer Care Collaborative

Holly Yurchison

The Christ Hospital Health Network is joining the Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Care Collaborative, becoming the first hospital outside New England to partner with the cancer center, and the seventh overall. Dana-Farber is considered one of the top cancer institutes in the country.

It's a process that requires an "extensive review of the hospital's oncology practices," according to Dana-Farber. The institute vetted Christ's programs, including how patients are treated and how staff treat each other.

Jennifer Manders, MD, is medical staff president and a surgical oncologist at The Christ Hospital. She says the partnership is important for several reasons.

"The first being access to clinical trials and educational opportunities that Dana-Farber and the Harvard system have that we don't have access to currently. I think that the quality of care that they deliver and the world class, cutting edge type of research that they do is also unique compared to what's currently available," she says.

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute focuses on cancer and related diseases. To become certified, Christ Hospital had to work with Dana-Farber clinicians on a thorough review of the hospitals procedures and practices, "including patient safety protocols, nursing and pharmacy practices, chemotherapy administration, and information systems."

By joining the collaborative, Christ Hospital physicians have access to additional training resources, and can work with doctors, experts and specialists at the institute and other participating hospitals on "tumor boards" where they can discuss complex cases.

Manders says local physicians and care providers are already participating in those tumor boards.

"We are discussing these cases with world-renowned physicians and researchers — talking about what trials are available or how they would manage some of the patients that we're taking care of, especially when it comes to more complex situations, patients who've been through multiple rounds of different types of chemotherapy who may have a recurrence (or) may have something rare, or something that's sort of on the edge of what would be best between two different types of treatment."

Manders tells WVXU The Christ Hospital was looking to join a nationwide collaborative and researched the top names in care such as the Mayo Clinic, MD Anderson and Memorial Sloane Kettering. The hospital staff chose to pursue Dana-Farber because of the "the depths of connection and collaboration."

"It was the the actual details of the collaboration that became most appealing to us. It wasn't just like an advertising thing, this was actually our physicians — and when I say physicians, I mean, clinical staff, researchers, etc. — would have access to everything that they have to offer, whether it's mentoring for physicians, or younger physicians specifically, or collaboration at these types of cancer conferences, or sending our patients information for another opinion."

Local care providers are already receiving mentoring from their counterparts at Dana-Farber, she adds.

"We are pleased to welcome The Christ Hospital Health Network with all of its medical and radiation oncology physicians and staff as the latest member of the Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Care Collaborative," says Craig Bunnell, MD, chief medical officer at Dana-Farber, in a statement. "Expanding our collaborative services to the greater Cincinnati area, our first relationship in the Midwest, allows us to continue our mission to relieve the burden of cancer in even more patients on a national level."

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.