February 5, 2010

Friedman to lead Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Debra Friedman, M.D.

Friedman to lead Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Following an extensive national search, Debra Friedman, M.D., has been named the director of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Vanderbilt University.

Friedman, associate professor of Pediatrics and the E. Bronson Ingram Chair in Pediatric Oncology, has served as interim director since July.

Debra Friedman, M.D.

Debra Friedman, M.D.

“Our programs in pediatric cancer are our highest priority and I am truly delighted with this choice. Deb Friedman is an extraordinary individual who will lead the division with compassion and creativity,” said Jonathan Gitlin, M.D., James C. Overall Professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics.

“She is a skilled and effective leader with a very clear commitment to excellence in clinical care and outstanding scholarship. Our children and their families are in good hands.”

“I look forward to working with Dr. Friedman in her new role,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. “Pediatric Hematology and Oncology is one of the places at Vanderbilt where every day we make tremendous differences in the lives of our patients, and I know this impact will continue and grow under her leadership.”

Friedman is the leader of the Cancer Control and Prevention Program at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and director of the REACH for Survivorship Program, a collaborative venture between the Department of Pediatrics, the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt and the Cancer Center.

“It is an incredible honor to have been selected as the next director of the Division of Hematology/Oncology,” Friedman said.

“I am so fortunate to work with an exceptionally dedicated and talented faculty and staff. I look forward to working with all of them to advance our clinical and research enterprise to improve the lives of children and their families living with, through and after cancer.”

“As a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of Vanderbilt-Ingram's most important roles is as a leader in cancer control, prevention and survivorship,” said Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., director of the Cancer Center. “More than 12 million Americans are living with, and beyond, their cancer diagnosis, and we have a huge obligation to ensure that these folks not only survive but thrive after cancer.

“Nowhere is this more important than in the pediatric arena, where cancer survivors have many decades of life ahead of them.

“Having a world-renowned expert such as Dr. Friedman as both a leader of our cancer control and survivorship research as well as director of clinical care and research in pediatric hematology/oncology, assures a collaborative and integrated approach that is critical as we move forward.”

Friedman came to Vanderbilt in 2008 from Seattle, where she was director of the LiveStrong Survivorship Center of Excellence at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and director of the Cancer Survivorship Program at Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center.