On September 3, 1985, Ronald Herberman, M.D., arrived in Pittsburgh to lead the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI). On the same day 30 years later, leadership and staff gathered at the Hillman Cancer Center, home to UPCI and its partner, UPMC CancerCenter, to celebrate three decades of innovation and progress towards a cure for a disease that impacts the lives of so many people across the world.
A tiered cake greeted physicians, nurses and staff as they entered the center’s atrium. Before enjoying the cake and other refreshments, Nancy E. Davidson, M.D., director of UPCI and UPMC CancerCenter, and Stanley Marks, M.D., chairman of UPMC CancerCenter, addressed the crowd.
After providing a brief history of the founding of UPCI, Dr. Davidson focused her remarks on the innovation that occurs as a result of the team effort between UPCI and UPMC CancerCenter. “Cancer deaths are decreasing by one percent each year in the United States. These are our family members and friends, and we are working together towards a future without cancer,” Dr. Davidson said.
Dr. Marks reflected on the growth UPCI has seen over the years. Through its partnership with UPMC CancerCenter, UPCI helps to comprise a network of more than 2,000 oncology experts that treat over 74,000 patients each year. “Everyone here has played a critical role in getting us to where we are today,” he said, acknowledging the dedication of the staff members in front of him.
Dr. Marks also paid tribute to three influential people who weren’t in attendance. He credited UPCI’s significant advancements to the late Dr. Herberman, UPCI’s first director, who died last year; Jeffrey Shogan, M.D., who died in 2010 and was a driving force behind the extensive UPMC CancerCenter treatment network; and to Elsie Hillman, a consistent and active supporter of UPCI until her death last month.