May 21, 2013

West Tennessee Healthcare and Vanderbilt University Medical Center announce academic affiliation agreement

Kirkland Cancer Center

Leaders of West Tennessee Healthcare (WTH) and Vanderbilt University Medical Center today announced an academic affiliation agreement which further establishes a collaborative relationship between the two institutions, now for the creation of new cancer programs in West Tennessee.

The new agreement creates a framework for the future development of cooperative programs between Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC), Nashville, Tenn., and WTH’s Kirkland Cancer Center, Jackson, Tenn.

Specific goals of the new affiliation agreement may include:

  • Educational program support
  • Opportunities to enhance the delivery of oncology support programs for physicians and patients
  • Consultative services to build upon clinical programs
  • Joint clinical research trials

Construction is underway for a new building housing the Kirkland Cancer Center which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2013. The multi-story facility is designed with the patient in mind, providing a supportive, easy-to-access environment and will be one of the largest cancer centers in the region.

“Through this affiliation with Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, our goal is to provide the latest technology and support for those seeking cancer care, including access to new clinical research trials and educational programs,” said Bobby Arnold, president and CEO of WTH. “We are very pleased to be affiliated with Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.”

“The affiliation between our cancer centers provides patients with enhanced programs and cancer care services,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., deputy vice chancellor for Health Affairs and CEO of the Vanderbilt Health System. “We look forward to many great collaborative opportunities ahead with all of our colleagues associated with Kirkland Cancer Center so we can improve the lives of those affected by cancer.”

“This new affiliation with West Tennessee Healthcare is an extension of our mission to provide outstanding and compassionate care to cancer patients in the region by enhancing access to clinical care,” said Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., director of VICC. “We are committed to scientific excellence and as a leader in genomic medicine, we are delighted to extend our assistance to more physicians and patients through this collaboration.”

Under this agreement, all parties will remain independent, but they will be able to pursue joint projects and design new initiatives that are more efficient for the delivery of cancer care.

At Jackson-Madison County General Hospital (JMCGH), the Kirkland Cancer Center was designated in 1990 as one of the five Centers of Excellence and it has been participating in research studies since 1993. Currently, the Kirkland Cancer Center offers treatment and diagnostic services that include medical, surgical and radiation oncology, tumor registry and hospice. In addition, it provides cancer conferences for physicians and other health care professionals, social services, outreach clinics, public education and various support groups.

WTH is a not-for-profit integrated health care delivery system serving 18 rural western Tennessee counties with a combined population of approximately 500,000. JMCGH is home to seven “centers of excellence”:  Kirkland Cancer Center, Ayers Children’s Medical Center, the West Tennessee Heart and Vascular Center, West Tennessee Women’s Center, West Tennessee Rehabilitation Center, West Tennessee Neuroscience and Spine, and Emergency Services. The flagship facility of WTH, JMCGH is a 635-bed tertiary care hospital fully accredited by the Joint Commission.

VICC is one of only two National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in Tennessee and 41 in the country. Its 300 faculty members generate more than $140 million in annual federal research funding, ranking it among the top 10 centers in the country in competitive grant support, and its clinical program sees approximately 6,000 new cancer patients each year. VICC is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a non-profit alliance of 23 of the world’s leading cancer centers dedicated to improving cancer care for patients everywhere.