April 3, 2020

Shinohara named chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology

After serving as the department’s interim leader, Eric Shinohara, MD, MSCI, vice chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, has been named as the department’s chair.


by Tom Wilemon

After serving as the department’s interim leader, Eric Shinohara, MD, MSCI, vice chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, has been named as the department’s chair.

Eric Shinohara, MD, MSCI

He succeeds Lisa Kachnic, MD, who stepped down last year to join the Department of Radiation Oncology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Shinohara oversees a department known for implementing innovative treatment options, delivering world-class care to patients of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and educating leaders through a thriving residency program that trains academic clinicians and physician scientists with one of the highest rates in the country for residents electing to participate in the Holman Research Pathway. The Holman Pathway is for the trainees who have strong clinical abilities and the desire to also become leaders in research.

“During his service as interim chair, Dr. Shinohara has impressed everyone with his leadership and accomplishments. I am delighted to welcome Eric into this important role and look forward to working closely with him as we grow and shape the department’s future,” said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and CEO of VUMC and Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

As vice chair, Shinohara has been part of a leadership team responsible for numerous advancements, including investments in new linear accelerators that better target tumors and minimize radiation doses to healthy tissues. This has enabled several treatment innovations, such as the use of stereotactic body radiotherapy for prostate cancer, ocular melanoma and various benign diseases.

The use of stereotactic body radiotherapy has allowed prostate cancer treatments to be shortened from more than a month to five days. Other clinical and research advancements include implementation of adaptive radiotherapy, development of an inpatient radiation oncology service, deployment of telehealth services, investigating the use of MRI guidance in prostate brachytherapy, and the use of hydrogel spacers to reduce the side effects of radiation treatment.

“The Department of Radiation Oncology is an integral component of our health system, offering novel, life-saving therapies for adults and children at convenient locations in the communities we serve. I am confident Dr. Shinohara will continue to advance the department’s tradition of world-class care and am delighted he is serving in this role,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD, Deputy CEO and Chief Health System Officer for VUMC.

Shinohara has authored multiple papers published in medical journals such as Cancer, Cancer Research, and Oncogene during his time at Vanderbilt.

He has received numerous awards, including Excellence in Patient Experience recognition and the Educator of the Year Award from the Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology. He served as co-principal of the Telehealth Survivorship Care in Radiation Oncology: A Feasibility Study.

“Dr. Shinohara has shown the leadership, commitment and vision to lead Radiation Oncology and to inspire the team in the department to provide our patients with innovative radiation therapies and compassionate care,” said Jennifer Pietenpol, PhD, Executive Vice President for Research for VUMC and Director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

“I’m excited that he has taken on this role. He will be a valuable partner and leader going forward.”

Shinohara received his Medical Doctorate and Master of Science in Clinical Investigation degrees from Vanderbilt University.

He completed his residency in radiation oncology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He has been a member of the Vanderbilt University faculty and has practiced medicine at VUMC since 2010.

“Our Department of Radiation Oncology has a world class group of faculty and staff as well as a rich history of excellence in patient care, research and education. I am honored to have the opportunity to continue to build upon this history and be a part of the truly special leadership team and culture at VUMC,” Shinohara said.