Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center marks one year

by John Keenan and Paul Baltes | June 05, 2018

Image with caption: The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center opened a year ago today.

The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center opened a year ago today.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the opening of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. Director Ken Cowan, M.D., Ph.D., called it "an incredibly successful year and the beginning of a very exciting future."

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UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., said the impact of the cancer center has exceeded all expectations.

"The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center has shown in its first year the breadth and depth of its efforts in the battle against cancer, through its state-of-the-art patient care, by providing a base for cutting-edge cancer research, and through its education of the next generation of cancer-fighting health professionals," Dr. Gold said. "We are incredibly grateful for the public-private partnership with our community that made the cancer center possible and are so proud of the work that has been done here. We expect even greater achievements in the future."

"Nebraska Medicine and UNMC share a mission to lead the world," said Dan DeBehnke, M.D., M.B.A., CEO of Nebraska Medicine. "The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center is a beautiful example of that partnership and mission. We've done some extraordinary things in the past year thanks to a dedicated team. This first year lays a foundation for all the years to come. We are just getting started."

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"This center shows what is possible when we focus on what is important and are determined to do it right and at the highest level," said Sarah Thayer, M.D., Ph.D., physician in chief at the cancer center. "And we will keep reaching for new breakthroughs."

Feedback from patients, faculty and staff has been "incredibly positive," Dr. Cowan said.

"Everybody is excited about working closer together to advance the opportunities to develop new therapies and treatments for patients and to make them available sooner," he said. "And for patients -- in terms of the ease of being able to see all of their oncology providers and all the services they need in one environment -- it has been very successful."

"When we look at where we were a year ago and the patient experience we can provide today, it is transformational," said Theresa Franco, vice president of Nebraska Medicine cancer services. "What the cancer team has dreamed, designed, and committed to our patients has come to life."

Educationally, Dr. Cowan said, the center has been transformational in allowing graduate students in the Ph.D. programs to learn more about clinical challenges while clinical trainees, residents and fellows learn more about cutting-edge cancer research.

"Our ability to put everybody together means literally everybody can learn from each other, from the earliest part of their education," he said.

A note of thanks
Dr. Cowan spoke for the medical center leaders when he praised the supporters of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center.

"I want to say thank you to our state, city and county, who supported the vision of the cancer center early on, and to the many philanthropic donors and foundations and businesses that supported the vision and provided support for the building of the cancer center to make this the largest public-private partnership in the history of the state of Nebraska," he said. "And I'd like to thank all of our patients, our staff and faculty, and students."


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