Dr. John Ruckdeschel views the pieces of cancer care practiced by multiple departments at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and across the state with an eye toward using them to help solve the state's puzzle of high cancer deaths.
“The pieces are here. I want to take them to the next level,” he said. “They could be organized more, built out.”
The process is under way. The man credited with helping bring Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa to its National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center status said UMMC already has more cancer researchers, more cancer physicians and better organized programs than Moffitt had when he arrived in 1991.
His experience was attractive when UMMC began searching for a Cancer Institute director.
“Dr. Ruckdeschel has a rich and broad background in developing a focus on cancer, and a national reputation as an established leader in this area,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the school of medicine. “I look forward to his leadership of our Cancer Institute.”
In January, Ruckeschel succeeded Dr. Srinivasan Vijayakumar, who served three years as Cancer Institute director. Vijayakumar will continue as professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology.