Ira J. Dunkel, MD
Brain Tumors; Retinoblastoma
New Patient Appointments
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Dr. Dunkel accepts the following list of insurance providers. Select your insurance provider to see more details.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with Aetna HMO, POS, and PPO plans. Aetna does not include us in any of the plans you can purchase through the insurance exchanges or through Medicare. Please ask your insurance if you need a one-time referral. MSK has an agreement with the Aetna Transplant Program for all Aetna's commercial products.
In New York State
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield (Wellpoint) of New York HMO, EPO, PPO, and POS plans, with the following exceptions:
- Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.
- Memorial Sloan Kettering is not an in-network provider for Empire's Medicare Managed Care plan known as Mediblue).
- Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Blue Cross Blue Shield.
In New Jersey
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with some Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey plans for individuals, families, and small businesses. For example, the PPO plan is in-network with our Manhattan locations.
Horizon Blue Cross HMO is only in-network with our Basking Ridge, Bergen and Monmouth locations. It does not allow access to our Manhattan facilities.
Horizon Blue Cross PPO is in network with our Basking Ridge, Bergen, Monmouth and Manhattan locations.
OMNIA Plans: Tier I EPO based plan policy is only in-network with our Basking Ridge, Bergen and Monmouth locations and does not allow access to our Manhattan sites. Tier II EPO is only in-network with our Manhattan sites if it is a blue-card plan (there would be a suitcase logo indicating PPO on the front of the card).
Other plans may only be in-network at our Basking Ridge, Bergen or Monmouth locations.
Outside New York State and New Jersey
Some, but not all, Blue Cross Blue Shield plans outside of New York and New Jersey include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider. Contact your insurance to find out if your plan provides in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
We understand that there may be many complexities involved with insurance coverage purchased through the health exchange network of the Affordable Care Act. We’re here to help. If you have questions about how your care will be covered by an insurance provider, or need help navigating a change in coverage, please call us at 646-227-3378; if you are not a resident of New York, you can call us at 866-248-1274. Our team is here to listen to your concerns and assist you in any way we can. We want our care to be as accessible and affordable for as many people as possible.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with CIGNA's HMO, POS, and PPO plans. CIGNA does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.
- If you are a New York State resident: Please ask your insurance if you need a one-time referral.
- If you live outside of New York State: Please ask your insurance if you have in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with EmblemHealth’s PPO, EPO, POS, HMO plans and Medicare plans. Emblem Health does not include us in any of its Select Care network plans. EmblemHealth includes GHI, HIP, Vytra, and ConnecticCare (in NYS Only). You must bring a referral from your Emblem primary care doctor to your first appointment.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with HealthFirst’s commercial products; these commercial products are not purchased on the insurance exchanges.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with HealthSmart’s Accel, HSPC, and HPO networks.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Humana.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Interlink Health Services.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Lifetrac.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider for all MagnaCare health plans except those products you can buy through the insurance exchanges.
In New York: Memorial Sloan Kettering’s New York locations are in-network with the Emblem
In New Jersey: Memorial Sloan Kettering’s New Jersey locations in Basking Ridge, Bergen and Monmouth are in-network with the Horizon Medicare Advantage Plan. This plan is not accepted for care provided at MSK’s New York locations.
If you are enrolled in any other Medicare Advantage plan, please contact your insurance carrier to determine your benefits and coverage at Memorial Sloan Kettering since your access may be limited.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with some Multiplan/Beech Street/PHCS plans. Contact your insurance carrier to find out if your plan provides in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Multiplan.
If you are covered by more than one insurance plan, you will want to determine your benefits from both plans. First, you need to determine which one is your primary insurance provider by contacting your employee benefits office or your insurance carriers. After you find out which is your primary insurance provider, you should then contact your insurance carrier to determine if you have access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with some MVP plans. Contact your insurance carrier to find out if your plan provides in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider for New York State employees who have enrolled in UnitedHealthcare's Cancer Resource Services. If you have the Empire Plan, you should call Cancer Resources Services at 866-936-6002 to verify and enroll in this coverage.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is in-network with Oscar’s Circle Plus Network, a part of its Small Group Broad line that is offered only to select small business groups. Oscar does not include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider for any of its individual plans. Please confirm eligibility with your insurance carrier.
We have agreements with several insurance companies that may provide additional coverage for cancer patients. These benefit programs include:
- AXA Assistance USA
- Beech Street
- Integrated Health Plans
- National Health Administrators
- National Preferred Provider Network
- UnitedHealthcare's Cancer Resource Services
- United Resource Network
- Veterans Choice Program
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with Oxford’s Freedom and Liberty plans as well as the Metro Plan (which is only offered to small business groups and no longer offered as individual plans). Please confirm with your insurance if you need a one-time referral. Note: Oxford’s Medicare Managed Care plan — Secure Horizon — does not include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider. Oxford does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with the World Trade Center Health Program.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with QualCare's PPO and HMO/POS network.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Specialty Care Management.
Hospital and physician services may be covered by TRICARE. Please call your TRICARE plan to confirm coverage at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with UnitedHealthCare's HMO, POS, and PPO plans. Please confirm with your insurance if a one-time referral is needed.
UnitedHealthCare's Medicare Managed Care plan does not include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider.
United does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.
Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by UnitedHealthcare.
Contact and Location
Memorial Sloan Kettering has locations throughout New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, and Westchester. These locations offers many services, including screening, chemotherapy, and medical testing.
MD, Duke University
Pediatrics - Duke University
Pediatric Infectious Disease - Duke University/Muhimbili Medical Center; Pediatric Hematology/Oncology - Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
I am a pediatric oncologist on the MSK Kids team who specializes in caring for children, teenagers, and young adults with brain and eye tumors, including medulloblastoma (the most common cancerous brain tumor in children) and retinoblastoma (a rare eye tumor in children). I also treat children and teenagers with melanoma and children and adults with a rare white blood cell disorder called Langerhans cell histiocytosis.
In my clinical research on brain tumors, my colleagues and I are seeking to develop more-effective therapies with fewer and less severe side effects. Much of this work involves clinical trials to evaluate new drugs for difficult to treat tumors, such as diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, glioblastoma, recurrent medulloblastoma, and recurrent ependymoma.
I am also working to develop new treatments for retinoblastoma. These include the use of intensive therapy for children whose retinoblastoma has spread outside the eye and local chemotherapy for those with advanced cancer within the eye.
Nationally, I am chair of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium, a National Cancer Institute–sponsored clinical trials group. I am a member of the Children’s Oncology Group’s Rare Tumors (Retinoblastoma) Committee and Brain Tumor Committee, and I serve as the principal investigator for national clinical trials addressing these tumors. I am also a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Brain Malignancy Steering Committee and a special government employee for the US Food and Drug Administration’s Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee.
In addition to patient care and research, I work closely with young doctors who are training in pediatric oncology to help them learn how best to identify the individual needs of patients and to care for children with cancer.
It is very rewarding to work with patients and their families. I tailor their care to their needs and explain the treatment options to them their treatment options, guiding them in complex decision-making or exploring various alternatives. At MSK, our goal is to cure the cancer while leaving the patient with as normal a life as possible.
Awards and Honors
- Castle Connolly: New York Magazine Top Doctors (2005-2020)
- Achievement Award, American Academy of Ophthalmology (2012)
- Paul Meyers Teaching Award, Department of Pediatrics, Memorial Sloan Kettering (2015)
Doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering work as teams, with specialists from all different areas. This allows us to consider all your needs together, and to give you the best possible care.
- Clinical Trials Investigated by Dr. Dunkel
- A Feasibility Study of the Optune Electric Field Device to Treat Children with Recurrent or Persistent Supratentorial High-Grade Gliomas and Ependymomas
- A Phase I Study of APX005M Immunotherapy in Pediatric Patients with Persistent or Recurrent Brain Tumors and Newly Diagnosed Brain Stem Glioma
- A Study of the Safety and Preliminary Effectiveness of Pembrolizumab Immunotherapy to Treat Children and Adolescents with Recurrent or Persistent High-Grade Glioma or Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma
- Clinical Trials Co-Investigated by Dr. Dunkel
- A Phase I Study of Convection-Enhanced Delivery of 124I-8H9 for Patients with Non-Progressive Diffuse Pontine Gliomas Previously Treated with Radiation Therapy
- A Phase I Study of INCB7839 in Children with Recurrent High-Grade Glioma that Continues to Grow
- A Phase I Study of Panobinostat in Children with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma
- A Phase I Study of Savolitinib in Patients with Recurrent or Persistent Medulloblastoma, High-Grade Glioma, or Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma
- A Phase I/II Study of CX-4945 (a "Sonic Hedgehog Pathway Inhibitor) in Patients with Recurrent Sonic Hedgehog-type Medulloblastoma
- A Phase II International Collaborative Treatment Protocol for Children and Adolescents with Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis
- A Phase II Study of Reduced Therapy for Patients Newly Diagnosed with Average-Risk WNT-Driven Medulloblastoma
- Effect of Treatment on Quality of Life in Survivors of Retinoblastoma in One Eye
Memorial Sloan Kettering's doctors and scientists are constantly developing new treatments for cancer. MSK is typically running hundreds of clinical trials at a given time.
You may be able to participate in a clinical trial even if you are new to MSK. Search our online directory to find trial information and see more about who can participate.
Research and Publications
Visit PubMed for a full listing of Dr. Dunkel’s journal articles. Pubmed is an online index of research papers and other articles from the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.
Doctors and faculty members often work with pharmaceutical, device, biotechnology, and life sciences companies, and other organizations outside of MSK, to find safe and effective cancer treatments, to improve patient care, and to educate the health care community.
MSK requires doctors and faculty members to report (“disclose”) the relationships and financial interests they have with external entities. As a commitment to transparency with our community, we make that information available to the public.
Ira J. Dunkel discloses the following relationships and financial interests:
Provision of Services
Fennec Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Provision of Services
Provision of Services
The Kamen Brain Tumor Foundation
Provision of Services (uncompensated)
If you’re a patient at MSK and would like more information about your doctor’s external relationships, please talk with your doctor.
The information published here is for a specific annual disclosure period. There may be differences between information on this and other public sites as a result of different reporting periods and/or the various ways relationships and financial interests are categorized by organizations that publish such data.
This page and data include information for a specific MSK annual disclosure period (January 1, 2019 through disclosure submission in spring 2020). This data reflects interests that may or may not still exist. This data is updated annually.