Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center has announced the appointment of surgical oncologist Richard Barakat to the new position of Deputy Physician-in-Chief for the Memorial Sloan Kettering Regional Care Network and Alliance. In his new role, Dr. Barakat will lead the network into the future by expanding its presence throughout the New York metro area while also continuing to build relationships and form alliances with medical institutions outside the region.
“As a nation we are faced with an extraordinary challenge to improve access to the latest advances in cancer care,” said José Baselga, MD, PhD, Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Physician-in-Chief. “Our commitment to expand our Regional Care Network and newly formed MSK Cancer Alliance means that more patients — including those living outside the New York City area — will now have access to the most-advanced, evidence-based care, including Memorial Sloan Kettering clinical trials. We are indeed fortunate to have Dr. Barakat, whose talent will shine on an even wider stage now, leading this important effort.”
The Deputy Physician-in-Chief for the Memorial Sloan Kettering Regional Care Network and Alliance will be responsible for ensuring that the highest standards of patient care continue to be delivered at all Memorial Sloan Kettering sites, and will lead the effort to fully implement and expand the recently announced Memorial Sloan Kettering Alliance. Dr. Barakat will also lead an expansion of the network’s current clinical research program and surgical service offerings, giving Memorial Sloan Kettering patients greater access to cutting-edge clinical trials and surgical expertise closer to home.
Currently, Memorial Sloan Kettering’s growing regional network, which tracked more than 104,000 patient visits in 2012, includes outpatient facilities in Basking Ridge, New Jersey; Long Island; and Westchester County, with future sites planned for Harrison, New York, and Monmouth County, New Jersey.
The MSK Cancer Alliance — designed to enable an ongoing “living, breathing” dynamic partnership between Memorial Sloan Kettering physicians and community oncology providers — welcomed its first member, Hartford HealthCare, a multihospital healthcare system in Connecticut, in September. While this approach to bringing truly state-of-the-art cancer care to local communities is focused on the rapid application of new knowledge, it is also a cost-effective model for delivering care since it does not require building new facilities. Cancer patients seeking treatment with alliance providers will also remain under their local institution’s care.
“This new chapter of my life is a source of great excitement,” said Dr. Barakat, who is the former Chief of the Gynecology Service. “Caring for patients with cancer has given me unique and invaluable perspective, and I’m eager to share these experiences with my colleagues who also envision a network and alliance that is strong, dedicated, and capable of providing the caliber of care that has long been the hallmark of Memorial Sloan Kettering.”
While Dr. Barakat will be stepping down from his role as Chief of the Gynecology Service, he will remain an active member of the surgical team, caring for women with gynecologic malignancies, including ovarian, endometrial, and cervical cancers.
Dr. Barakat came to Memorial Sloan Kettering in 1989 as a fellow in gynecologic oncology and was named chief of the service in 2001. Under his thoughtful guidance and leadership, the service has built a rich clinical research portfolio, making it one of the largest accruers to clinical trials in the Gynecology Oncology Group, the national cooperative group. He was also an integral player in instituting a major laparoscopic and robotic surgery program within the service that now accounts for the majority of surgical cases performed at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Dr. Barakat also serves as president-elect for both the Society of Gynecology Oncology and the International Gynecologic Cancer Society.