Loading

If you haven't had a chance to see the new 10th anniversary history panels, they are in the CN Level Proton Hallway.

A Message from Dr. Metz

We have embarked on a new Fiscal and Academic Year in Penn Medicine Radiation Oncology which will be unlike anything we have experienced. So many things have changed since a year ago with the onset of the pandemic. We continue to have many of our team members work remotely. Our educational conferences and meetings are all via electronic means. Our recruitment of residents will all be virtual this year. We are beginning to resurge our research labs. Our clinical practices are moving back towards typical volumes, but the setting is entirely different with PPE.

However, with all the changes, I am so proud of how our team has found solutions and worked together to ensure successful delivery in each of our missions. We will need to keep coming up with new ideas for the future as we work through the potential resurgence of the pandemic in the Fall. We need to strategically invest in new ways to deliver clinical care, enhance educational programs, and perform cutting edge research. We need to look to the opportunities that the Covid-19 has brought upon us in the midst of all the challenges.

We have had many new team members join us this Summer through our residency programs and expansion of our clinical programs. This is a time of renewal as we have the opportunity to answer questions and ask ourselves how we can improve as an organization. It is always an exciting time as a wave of people join us with fresh ideas and novel perspectives. I hope you will join me in welcoming our new team members and asking yourselves-- how can each of us contribute to their successes? As we strive for continuous improvement in Penn Radiation Oncology, I hope you will all take some time to reflect on how things have changed and how we can continue to evolve to support each other in the department.

.

In the News

Doylestown Tornado

On Tuesday, August 4 our Doylestown location, including the hospital, emergency department, Cancer Institute, and the daycare center, were hit by a tornado. The storm caused damage to building infrastructure, roofs, and overturned cars in the lot. Fortunately, due to quick thinking and swift action, Brian Lally and the staff quickly escorted patients to safety in the vault. When staff were notified that the roof collapsed at the neighboring daycare center, Kevin Weber led the team to rescue the children. Alongside of rescue personnel, they formed a human chain to escort children and the daycare personnel into the RadOnc vault to ride out the storm and keep them safe. Please join me in sending well wishes to everyone who braved the storm, as well as their families who I’m sure were concerned for their safety! I also want to applaud the courage of our team members for acting swiftly to secure the safety of those around them: Brian Lally, Sean McCloud, Omar Nawaz, Christina Morath, Stephanie Ganley, Kevin Weber, Carol Moffo, Eleanor Spornak, Coleen Rosenblum, Rachelle Klein, Anthony Metz and Alyce Richardson. THANK YOU!!!

Dr. Mayekar Instagram Takeover

  • The takeover occurred on Wednesday, July 22nd
  • This was Dr. Mayekar’s second takeover of the Penn Medicine Instagram account and was another success!
  • She piloted Penn Medicine’s first ever takeover in January 2019
  • Dr. Mayekar engaged over 2,400 accounts and posted a total of 20 stories throughout the day

LGH Construction Update

Construction is continuing at our proton centers at LGH and at Virtua and we remain on time for equipment installation to start early next year. 

Dr. Kenneth Blank took these photos showing the construction progress at LGH!

Announcements

Save the Date: October 14 - All Department Meeting

In an effort to provide all of us with the opportunity to come together to discuss important topics, there are 2 sessions scheduled. Please make arrangements to login on time and participate in one of these two identical sessions:

  • Wednesday, October 14 from 10-11am
  • Wednesday, October 15 from 12-1pm

Please join us in our endeavor to fold 1,000 paper cranes – virtually! This project is open to any interested patients as well as RadOnc faculty and staff!

Together we hope to create a digital collection of 1,000 paper cranes folded by patients, caregivers, healthcare workers, and other community members as a symbol of healing and hope. This project is inspired by an ancient Japanese legend: If an ill person folded 1,000 paper cranes, then that person would get well! As a community, we support each other and hope to create these cranes as a sign of support for one another.

Origami practitioner Sophia Kim will be hosting virtual folding lessons Saturdays at 11:00 am, until the project is complete.

Please email RadOncPatientEngagement@uphs.upenn.edu with any questions.

Check Out RadOnc's Wall of Gratitude!

Click on the link below to view RadOnc's Wall of Gratitude, which includes messages of thanks to our faculty and staff, the department videos featured in Dr. Metz's daily emails, as well as schedule of food donation deliveries.

August 8 was National Medical Dosimetrist's Day

As critical, key members of our team – we could not treat our patients without you! Thank you for caring for our patients, designing and optimizing our treatment plants, upholding radiation safety principles and providing the technical expertise that balances out our teams.

Don't forget to take a moment for yourself, checkout the virtual options:

Have You Recognized Someone Today?

DON'T FORGET: You can recognize a colleague at any time by submitting the recognition form found at https://redcap.med.upenn.edu/surveys/?s=HPKUea (direct link is below). Bookmark this web page for easy access in the future!

Meet the Newest Members of Our Team!

Left to Right: Regina Jacoby, Ling Mao, Judy Salzillo, Bryan Schmalhofer

Regina Jacoby

Regina joins the department as a Patient Service Coordinator for Penn Medicine Radnor. Previously Regina worked as a patient services associate at Penn Medicine Valley Forge. She has her Master's from Immaculata University and in her spare time, she enjoys yoga, reading, and golfing. Contact Regina at Regina.jacoby@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

Ling Mao

Ling joins the department as a Medical Physicist C at Penn Medicine Princeton. Previously Ling worked as a physicist at RCCA/Princeton Radiation Oncology. She has her MS from Louisiana State University. Contact Ling at ling.mao@PennMedicine.Upenn.edu.

Judy Salzillo

Judy joins the department as a Medical Dosimetrist at Penn Medicine Princeton. Previously Judy worked as a dosimetrist at Princeton Medical Center and she graduated from Thomas Jefferson University. In her spare time, Judy is an avid NY Rangers and NY Yankees fan, enjoys knitting and crocheting, & traveling.. Contact her at Judy.Salzillo@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

Bryan Schmalhofer

Bryan joins the department as a Proton Project Manager. Previously Brian worked as a manager in radiation oncology operations at Wellspan Health Oncology Service Line. He has his MBA from Eastern University, Certification in Radiation Therapy from Washburn University, and BS in Radiologic Science from Adventist University. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys Vertern volunteer work (AMVETS), motorcycle riding, and cooking. Contact him at Bryan.schmalhofer@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

Employee Recognition

Congratulations to our colleagues on their achievements!

Appointments

Fabian Marechal

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Fabian Marechal to the role of Chief Operating Officer, Department of Radiation Oncology for the Clinical Practices of the University of Pennsylvania. Fabian will report directly to me with an indirect reporting relationship to John Sestito, Executive Director, CPUP. In his new role, Fabian will oversee all administrative functions for the department and serve as a critical strategic planning and business partner for me and the department.

In a broad career that has spanned 23 years within healthcare and hospitality, notably 9 years with Penn Medicine, Fabian brings to the Department of Radiation Oncology a wealth of operational expertise and strategic inventiveness culled principally from his current role as Director, Division Administration for Hematology Oncology, and prior as Senior Director of Operations for the Department of Orthopaedics. As you know, Fabian has been supporting RadOnc as the Interim Associate Chief Operating Officer, working with interim COO Robert Challender to help stabilize and maintain operational efficiency within the department during a time of significant change and growth. Fabian has done an outstanding job for the department during this transitional time. This experience, concurrent with Fabian’s ongoing work in Hematology Oncology, will ensure a seamless transition in administrative leadership for the department.

Fabian has a strong, proven track record, meeting financial and operational objectives combined with a sound understanding of practice management, ambulatory operations and collaborative, innovative programs. He received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree at the Sorbonne University in Paris, and is currently working towards a Certificate in Healthcare Management from Harvard University.

Fabian will begin in his role as COO on September 14, 2020 and continue to support Hematology Oncology until a suitable replacement is identified for the Director, Division Administration role.

At this time, we also take the opportunity to acknowledge our gratitude to Bob Challender, who provided invaluable support during the search for a permanent COO of Radiation Oncology, while also performing exemplary work as COO of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine. Bob has been a great partner and given me outstanding guidance over the past 5 months, and he will continue to help us through Fabian’s transition into his new roll.

Theresa Busch, PhD

Please join me in congratulating Theresa Busch, PhD on her appointment as the Radiation Oncology Department’s first Vice Chair for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity. This new role will both report to and work closely with the Department Chair to oversee, promote, and facilitate excellence in diversity, inclusion, equity and anti-racism efforts across all aspects of the department. The Vice Chair is responsible for creating and maintaining a culture that embraces inclusion and ensuring that all departmental policies and practices are grounded in the tenants of equity and antiracism. Together with departmental leadership, the Vice Chair will examine our research, clinical and educational activities through the lens of diversity, equity and inclusion, and develop strategies to build a strong culture of antiracism as well as metrics to measure the success of these strategies.

Theresa has held the role of Radiation Oncology’s Diversity Search Advisor for new faculty hires, and will continue in this role in addition to her work as Vice Chair. Theresa has already begun leading our department’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, which is focused on finding ways to promote equity and inclusion both within the department and through patient clinical experiences. I am thrilled that Theresa has accepted this role and look forward to her leadership in this essential area.

Arun Goel, MD

We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Arun Goel as a Radiation Oncology Instructor at PCAM! Dr. Goel specializes in the management of cancer of all body sites with a clinical focus on genitourinary malignancies. He joins us from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where he served as the brachytherapy fellow over the past year. Dr. Goel has considerable experience using high dose rate (HDR) and low dose rate (LDR) interstitial brachytherapy in the management of prostatic and gynecologic malignancies.

Dr. Goel completed his residency with the Department of Radiation Oncology at California Pacific Medical Center. Prior to his residency, he earned his MD from Drexel University’s College of Medicine and his BA degree in biology from Dartmouth College.

Dr. Goel was trained in advanced radiation techniques, including stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), and image-guided intensity modulated radiation therapy (IG-IMRT). He rotated through the brachytherapy service at Kaiser Santa Clara where he became interested in intraoperative HDR radiation planning and delivery. Dr. Goel has had projects accepted at national and international conferences on topics including combination SRS and immunotherapy in the management of metastatic melanoma, and combination of HDR brachytherapy with hypofractionated radiation regimens in the management of prostate adenocarcinoma.

Dr. Goel’s office is located on the second floor of PCAM, room 2-322W. Please join me in welcoming him to our department!

Mike LaRiviere

We are thrilled to welcome Mike LaRiviere, MD to Radiation Oncology as an Instructor on the Palliative and GI services. Mike specializes in management of cancer of all body sites, with a clinical focus on palliative radiotherapy and the treatment of oligometastatic disease. He brings with him experience in image-guided radiation therapy, stereotactic body radiation therapy, reirradiation and pencil-beam spot-scanning proton beam therapy.

Mike completed his residency in our very own Department of Radiation Oncology, and his internship in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds an MD from Emory University School of Medicine and a BA degree in neuroscience from Amherst College. Prior to medical school, Mike worked on a novel therapeutic platform for glioblastoma with the Departments of Neurosurgery and Radiation Oncology at the University of Chicago.

During residency, Mike served as the Education Officer for Trainees, receiving grant funding to develop a 3D printing-based approach to improve medical student oncology education. He co-authored several clinical trials, peer-reviewed journal articles, and textbook chapters and lectured widely on topics related to radiation oncology. His research interests include taking a multidisciplinary approach to combining radiation with CART therapy, immunotherapy, and other novel systemic agents; developing novel biomarkers to predict treatment response; and leveraging new technologies to advance resident, medical student, and patient education.

Michele Kim, PhD

Michele Kim, PhD recently completed her residency, and joined us on July 1 as an Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology in the Clinician-Educator Track for Medical Physics. Dr. Kim specializes in therapeutic medical physics. Her research is focused on dosimetry and biological modeling for small animal studies, proton small animal studies, and dosimetry for FLASH radiation studies. Dr. Kim will coordinate the Professional Development Seminar course for the Medical Physics Graduate Program starting in Fall 2020.

Dr. Kim received her B.A. (physics and biophysics), M.S., and Ph.D. in physics from the University of Pennsylvania. During her graduate studies, she worked on photodynamic therapy dosimetry under the supervision of Dr. Timothy Zhu. She completed her certificate in medical physics during this time and joined the department as a postdoctoral researcher under the supervision of Dr. Eric Diffenderfer, where she was involved in commissioning of the small animal proton/photon research room. She completed her medical physics residency with the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she continued to be involved in dosimetry and developments for FLASH radiation research. Dr. Kim is particularly interested in the translational aspects of novel techniques and partaking in large interdisciplinary research studies. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Kim on her position and welcome her back to the department as a faculty member!

Kristina Novick, MD

Kristina Novick, MD joined our department on July 1st as a Penn Medicine Clinician of Radiation Oncology at our Chester County Hospital location! Dr. Novick specializes in the treatment of cancer and benign diseases of multiple body sites, including brain, thoracic, gastrointestinal, skin, bone, genitourinary, gynecologic, and head and neck. She has expertise in the use of intensity modulated radiation therapy, image guided radiation therapy, stereotactic body radiation therapy, brachytherapy and unsealed sources.

Dr. Novick serves as an Alternate Delegate from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates. Recently, she has become an advocate for the appropriate use of opioid medications in cancer patients and challenges of prescribing opioid medication during the opioid epidemic. She was appointed as the ASCO representative to the AMA Opioid Task Force and is a member of the ASCO Opioid Use Panel. Dr. Novick is vice-chair for the American Radium Society Appropriate Use Criteria Breast Cancer Committee.

Prior to this position, Dr. Novick was an attending physician in Radiation Oncology at Rochester Regional Health in Rochester, New York, where she started in 2015. Dr. Novick received her undergraduate degree in economics from Princeton University, and her medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She completed her residency at the University of Rochester Medical Center. During her residency, she also earned a MS in biostatistics from the University of Rochester. Dr. Novick will be working in the Physician Touchdown space on the 2nd floor at PCAM for the next several weeks before she moves on to Chester County Hospital. Please join me in welcoming Dr. Novick to our Department!

Shannon O'Reilly, PhD

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Shannon O’Reilly, PhD to Assistant Professor of Clinical Radiation Oncology in the Academic Clinician Track. Dr. O’Reilly’s research interests include 4DCT ventilation, DECT, Monte Carlo dosimetry, and reducing radiation-induced toxicities. Her clinical responsibilities include proton radiotherapy, quality assurance, HDR brachytherapy and the thoracic site team.

Dr. Shannon O’Reilly earned her BS in Nuclear Engineering and an MS and PhD in Biomedical Engineering (Medical Physics concentration) from the University of Florida. She completed her residency training at the University of Pennsylvania, during which she was chief resident, and subsequently joined RadOnc as an Instructor. She is certified in therapeutic medical physics by the American Board of Radiology. For the Medical Physics Graduate Program, she previously coordinated the Professional Development seminar. Starting in the Fall term, Dr. O’Reilly will coordinate the Radiological Physics course and continue to serve on the Research and Admissions Committees. Currently, Dr. O’Reilly serves as the President-Elect for the Delaware Valley Chapter of AAPM. Please join me in congratulating Dr. O’Reilly on her promotion!

Sri Venigalla, MD

Congratulations to Dr. Sri Venigalla on his move to Penn’s Radiation Oncology Department at Lancaster General Hospital. Although we will miss Sri here at PCAM, we are thrilled he will be part of the LGH team!

Sri joined our Penn Medicine Radiation Oncology department in 2015 as a Resident, and was then hired as the evening physician here at PCAM. His congenial personality, encouraging attitude and overall exceptional work ethic leave a lasting and positive impression on his patients, as well as with everyone here at PCAM. We know he will be a tremendous success at Lancaster General Hospital.

A padlet site was created for Sri – allowing everyone to share their best wishes as he moves on to LGH (it’s not too late to add to it if you like)! https://padlet.com/radonc_officeofchair/FarewellSri Please join me in thanking Sri for his contributions to PCAM, and wishing him well on the next stage of his career.

Departures

Kimberly Benjamin, MD, MSc has decided to take a new position outside of Penn Medicine and depart Pennsylvania Hospital effective October 16, 2020. Dr. Benjamin has been an amazing asset to PAH. We are happy for her as she pursues a position in industry at Merck in the division of Head and Neck Cancer. Dr. Benjamin joined the PAH team in October of 2018, and built great partnerships throughout the institution – she will be greatly missed! We thank Dr. Benjamin for her service to the department and wish her best of luck in her future endeavors!

Retirements

Congratulations to Ann Marie Siegal, MD on her retirement, effective July 31, 2020. Dr. Siegal has been an attending physician at Penn’s Chester County Hospital for 22 years. She has served as a member on the Cancer Committee, the Institutional Review Board, the Radiation Safety Committee, and the Breast Cancer Task Force during her time at Chester County Hospital. Since 2004, Dr. Siegal has been the chairman of the Breast Cancer Task Force. Dr. Siegal joined our department in 1999 as a Clinical Assistant Professor and worked at a variety of network sites over the years. We are excited for Dr. Siegal as she begins this new chapter in her life, and are equally pleased that she will stay on as a per diem physician. We thank Dr. Siegal for her continued service to our department and wish her the best in her retirement!

Association of Oncology Social Work's Quality of Life in Cancer Care Award

Christina and her dog Linus, who works as a pet therapy dog in PCAM

Christina Bach, MBE, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW has been selected as the 2021 recipient of the Association of Oncology Social Work’s Quality of Life in Cancer Care Award, sponsored by the American Cancer Society. The prestigious award was established to highlight oncology social work’s commitment to improving the lives of people with cancer and those who care for them. The award is designed to honor individuals whose contributions through education, direct service, publications and presentations, reflect a commitment to quality of life for cancer survivors.

As the recipient of AOSW’s 2021 Quality of Life in Cancer Care Award, Christina was featured as a keynote speaker at the organization’s virtual conference on August 8th, 2020. Her lecture titled Co-Existing with Cancer and COVID: Ramifications for Ethical, Clinical, and Anti-Racist Oncology Social Work Practice offered an overview of the many obstacles that patients, families, caregivers and the health care team are faced with during the pandemic. She challenged her Oncology Social Work colleagues to continue to “pivot” to offer support and services to their patients and families. Christina shared statistics on individuals impacted by COVID to focus on current health care disparities.

Christina is a national leader in the field of clinical oncology social work, a bio-ethicist a social work educator, and a staunch advocate for the financial and insurance security of cancer patients. She has practiced in oncology for more than 20 years in inpatient and outpatient settings and is currently the psychosocial oncology content editor at Oncolink.org. In this role, she develops educational content for cancer patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals. She has a strong interest in financial and insurance concerns and has developed a series of educational videos about health insurance, updating them annually to reflect the changing landscape in health insurance.

At OncoLink, she conducts research on psychosocial topics including financial toxicity, insurance and practical concerns facing people with cancer. With the OncoLink team, she has published numerous scholarly articles in journals such as Cancer, The Journal of Cancer Survivorship, and The Journal of Oncology Practice.

Christina is an instructor and field liaison at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice (SP2) where she also served as the Associate Director for The Advanced Certificate in Oncology Social Work Practice program at SP2. She lectures regularly on bioethics and social work, with a particular interest in the intersection of technology, medicine, and social work practice.

Christina has worked on the planning committee for 4 AOSW conferences and has presented at many more. She has given many continuing education presentations and webinars, often on her favorite topic – ethics in social work practice. She helped create the Tri-State One-Day Social Work Conference, an annual conference that draws social workers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Christina guided AOSW through their Association of Social Work Boards accreditation, which allows them to provide continuing education to social workers nationwide.

In her spare time, she serves as the group facilitator for the Philadelphia Multiple Myeloma Networking Group and as a Financial and Insurance Specialist for the Cancer Support Community Helpline. She also works regularly with her two certified therapy dogs, Linus and Huck, and in cancer treatment settings at Penn Medicine as well as in literacy programs at local libraries. Christina serves on the Board of Directors and as a therapy dog evaluator for Comfort Caring Canines, Inc. Christina also has experience in Veterinary Social Work and does consulting and teaching on the human-animal bond, pet loss and animal assisted interventions and therapy and animal ethics/welfare.

American Cancer Society's Quality of Life Award Ceremony
Christina's slides at the virtual award ceremony

Radiation Research Foundation Career Development Award

Congratulations to Ioannis Verginadis, Senior Research Investigator, on winning the Career Development Award from the Radiation Research Foundation on the project entitled “Delineating the role of STAT3 on normal tissue radioprotection and pancreatic tumor radiosensitization in a preclinical setting ”. This proposal is based on data generated in the past 2 years regarding the effects of focal radiotherapy on intestinal damage. Together with Dr. Constantinos Koumenis and Dr. Edgar Ben-Josef, Ioannis developed a novel, more clinically relevant mouse model of intestinal radiation injury based on precision, image-guided radiotherapy using the Small Animal Radiation Research Platform (SARRP). This model gives us the unique capability to fully mimic the clinical setting because we can study both irradiation(IR)-induced damage to the normal intestine and the impact of IR on orthotopic pancreatic tumor models in the same mice. The goal of this effort is to translate the findings into human clinical trials for early detection and therapeutic intervention of radiotherapy(RT)-induced intestinal toxicity. If the results are promising, Dr. Ben-Josef will initiate a clinical trial using the STAT3 inhibitor OPB-51602 combined with RT as a novel treatment for pancreatic tumors.

AAMP Award

Sang Ho Lee, PhD, Gary D. Kao, MD, PhD, Steven J. Feigenberg, MD, Jay F. Dorsey, MD, PhD, Melissa A. Frick, MD, Samuel Jean-Baptiste, MD, Chibueze Z. Uche, PhD, Yong Fan, PhD, Ying Xiao, PhD

Sang Ho Lee, PhD is an Award Winner at the Science Council Session of the 2020 American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) annual meeting for the abstract entitled “Multi-block Discriminant Analysis of Integrative 18F-FDG-PET/CT Radiomics for Predicting Circulating Tumor Cells in Early Stage Non-small Cell Lung Cancer Treated with Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy”.

ASTRO Awards and Presentations

2020 Annual Meeting Abstract Award: Resident Recognition Award - Poster Viewing, Physics Category

Hui Lin, PhD, Justin Bekelman, MD, Lei Dong, PhD, Taoran Li, PhD, Hien Lu, Kevin Teo, PhD, and Jennifer Zou, PhD received the Resident Recognition Award - Poster Viewing, Physics Category, one of the ASTRO Annual Meeting Abstract Awards. Their abstract “A Deep Learning Method for Auto-Segmentation of Cardiac Substructures on Non-Contrast Planning CTs in the RADCOMP Trial” includes colleagues from Penn's Department of Cardiovascular Medicine as co-authors. This award showcases a resident-lead investigation honored by ASTRO, inter-institutional and inter-departmental collaboration, the latest machine learning technology, and automatic segmentation applied to clinical trails data.

Anish Butala, MD had two submissions accepted for oral presentations at this year's ASTRO conference.

  • Butala AA, Williams GR, Maxwell RJ, Carmona R, Jordan M, Davis EL, O’Connor N, Kumar P, Paydar I, Jones JA. The Impact of Provider-Driven Serious Illness Conversations on Length of Palliative Radiotherapy for Bone Metastases. Oral Presentation. ASTRO 2020 Annual Meeting. October 2020.
  • Butala AA, Williams GR, Carmona R, Doucette A, Gabriel PE, Paydar I, Jones JA. Development and Validation of a 74 Variable Stepwise Machine Learning Algorithm to Predict for Palliative Intent Radiotherapy. Quick Oral Presentation. ASTRO 2020 Annual Meeting. October 2020.

NAPT Conference Presentations

  • Opportunities For Combined Chemotherapy And Protons – James M. Metz, MD
  • Proton Flash - Promises And Pitfalls – James M. Metz, MD
  • Engaging With Patients As Partners: How To Build An Exceptional Patient Experience In Your Center – Fern Nibauer-Cohen
  • Virtual Reality For Staff Training – Laura Kendrick, MHA, BS RT(T) and Courtney Misher, MPH, BSRT(T)
  • Best Practices In Digital Marketing - Megan Lawless

PTCOG Presentations

O’Reilly S, Harris W, Cheng C, Jain V, Burgdorf B, Teo BK, Dong L, Berman A, Feigenberg S, Zou W. Constraining higher dose volumes for thoracic proton radiotherapy. Oral Presentation. PTCOG Virtual Meeting. September 2020.

Social Scene

PAH Survivor's Day

Left to Right: Therapists Marshall McMain, Tamar Smith, Kelly Cosgrove, Shannon James, Barb Granese and Danielle Bove celebrated Survivor's Day with patients at PAH.
Left to Right: Therapists Tamar Smith, Marshall McMain, Kelly Cosgrove, Danielle Bove, Shannon James and Barb Granese pose with decorations in the waiting area.

Pennsylvania Hospital celebrated Survivor's Day on Friday, June 26. Patients were given goodie bags with coupons, custom candles, snacks, a mini bell (since patients can't ring the bell hanging in our department due to COVID-19), lotion, mask, and seeds to plant. Earlier in the month, from June 6 through June 8, they had a Cancer Survivor's Day Virtual 5K with over 50 virtual finishers, helping to raise money for charity!

Top right: decorated waiting area. Top left: goodie bag items for patients. Bottom right and left: decorated hallways.

2020 Penn Medicine Experience Week: Oct. 19th - 23rd

This Year's Theme: BE PRESENT

Be on the lookout for more information in the coming weeks!

The Virtual Breakthrough Bike Challenge is underway! There is still time to join the Beam of Life team. Challenge will be continuing until September 13, 2020. You can participate with any fitness challenge of your choice! Use STRAVA app to track your challenge and post your goals on your Breakthrough Bike Challenge profile page!

Please contact the Beam of Life Team Captains for more information:

  • Christina Marchesani: Christina.Marchesani@pennmedicine.upenn.edu
  • Bill Barbour: William.Barbour@pennmedicine.upenn.edu
  • Isabella Ameniera: Isabella.Ameniera@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

Five Questions With...

Fabian Marechal

1. What is a typical work day like for you, and how much has changed since COVID-19?

I am an early riser up usually before 5 AM for a quick run before catching up on emails and making my way to work. My typical day is spent about 80% of the time in meetings at PCAM now virtually with the pandemic and one day a week at home.

2. What led you to work at Penn Medicine and the department of Radiation Oncology?

I was always interested in working in Academic Medicine. After moving to the Philadelphia Region, I set my eyes on Penn Medicine as the only institution I would consider to join in the region. I have been now at Penn Medicine for over 9 years and was given the opportunity to join the Department as the interim ACOO back in March. I was amazed with incredible pool of the talent it has, Jim's leadership and vision and I am looking forward to permanent join the department as the new COO.

3. What are you passionate about?

At work, mentorship and in my personal life, international adventure travel . I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro last year and I am anxious to prep for my next big trip once we can travel again.

4. Do you have any working from home tips to share?

Invest in a good chair... my back always hurt by the end of the day.

5. What book have you read recently, or what is a favorite book you would recommend?

I just finished reading the Glass Hotel by Emily Mandel, a fiction novel loosely based on the Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme scandal. It was so interesting that I bought a non-fiction about the scandal to learn more.

OncoLink Comes to PennChart!

OncoLink patient education tools are now integrated with PennChart! This provides the ability to access the OncoLink survivorship care plan builder or the treatment binder (patient education materials) via the More Options dropdown menu. This allows you to build custom documents and save them directly to the patient record, eliminating the need to exit PennChart to create, print, and scan OncoLink documents. The tools are easy to use, and the created PDF documents are sent back to the chart (Encounters and Media tabs). You can send the documents in MPM by attaching them to a message using the “Tasks & Attachments” option on the right side of the message. The tools are available at all locations except LGH.

For more information, detailed instructions, tips or to request a training session, visit www.oncolink.org/pennchart.

Education

Congratulations to our graduating residents and students!

Incoming Medical Physics Residents

From left to right: Zheng Zhang, Mike Salerno, Wenbu Gu, Suk Whan Yoon

Welcome to the incoming Medical Physics Residents who started on July 1, 2020.

  • Zheng Zhang
  • Mike Salerno
  • Wenbu Gu
  • Suk Whan Yoon

Incoming Medical Residents

Top row from left to right, Nikhil Yegya-Raman, MD, Jacob Trotter, MD, and Sana Sara Dastgheyb, MD. Bottom row from right to left: Eva Berlin, MD and William Su, MD

Welcome to the incoming Medical Residents who started on July 1, 2020.

  • Nikhil Yegya-Raman, MD
  • Jacob Trotter, MD
  • Sana Sara Dastgheyb, MD
  • Eva Berlin, MD
  • William Su, MD

Masters of Medical Physics Graduate Program

MPGP warmly welcomes its new students for the Fall 2020 semester! 11 new master’s and 5 certificate students from domestic and international locations will join the 15 continuing students for hybrid learning (mix of virtual and on-campus) this semester.

The Department of Radiation Oncology and the Medical Physics Graduate Programs are delighted to select Destinee Holloman as the inaugural recipient of the Master of Science in Medical Physics Under Represented Minority (URM) Scholarship. This scholarship is designed to support students from underrepresented backgrounds who are pursuing the field of Radiation Oncology. Destinee, a first year Master of Science in Medical Physics student, hails from Lebanon, PA, and recently earned a B.S. in Physics from Millersville University.

Research

Chair's Summer Research Grant Program

For the last few years, the Department of Radiaiton Oncology has encouraged students, proctored by a faculty mentor, to apply for summer grants through the Chair's Office. This year, we opted to take a different route with this particular program. We asked students and faculty to come up with proposals that will allow for research performed in a remote fashion with close oversight from their mentor. We had a largest group of proposals since we started the program! Because we recognize this is a difficult year for students to find experiences, we decided to expand the opportunities for summer grants. We typically award grants to 4-5 applicants; this year we awarded 12, all of which are paid for out of our academic endowments. Please see below for the award winners and their research projects.

Congratulations to the Penn Medical Physics Graduate Programs master’s students and their faculty sponsors who were awarded Chair’s Radiation Oncology Summer Research Grants!

Publications

Barsky AR, Ahern CA, Venigalla S, Verma V, Anstadt EJ, Wright CM, Ludmir EB, Berlind CG, Lindsay WD, Grover S, Cengel KA, Simone CB 2nd. Gender-based Disparities in Receipt of Care and Survival in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. Clin Lung Cancer. 2020 May 23. pii: S1525-7304(20)30161-3. PMID: 32611504

Beeson KW, Parilov E, Potasek M, Kim MM, Zhu TC. Validation of combined Monte Carlo and photokinetic simulations for the outcome correlation analysis of benzoporphyrin derivative-mediated photodynamic therapy on mice. J Biomed Opt. 2019 Mar;24(3):1-9. PMID: 30873764

A. Bertolet, M. A. Cortés-Giraldo, A. Carabe. ‘An analytical microdosimetric model for radioimmunotherapeutic alpha emitters’, Radiation Research, 2020, Published online on 17 August. doi: 10.1667/RADE-20-00045.1.

Butala AA, Ingram WS, O’Reilly SE, Hartl B, Kassaee A, Deville C, Vapiwala N. Robust Treatment Planning in Whole Pelvis Pencil Beam Scanning Proton Therapy for Prostate Cancer. Medical Dosimetry. 2020 May 26;S0958-3947(20)30040-6.

Butala AA, Jain V, Reddy V, Sebro RA, Song Y, Karakousis G, Mitchell TC, Lukens JN, Shabason JE. Impact of Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes on Overall Survival in Merkel Cell Carcinoma. Manuscript Accepted by The Oncologist.

Butala AA, Lee D, Patel RR, Latif NA, Haggerty AH, Paydar I, Jones JA, Taunk NK. Rapid Symptom Response in Bleeding Gynecologic Malignancies with Short Course Palliative Radiation Therapy: Less is More. Manuscript Accepted by Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.

Butala AA, Vapiwala N. Robust Treatment Planning in Whole Pelvis Pencil Beam Scanning Proton Therapy for Prostate Cancer – Beyond the Abstract.

Butala AA, Williams GR, Fontanilla HP, Dharmarajan KV, Jones JA. Making the Most of a Crisis: A Proposal for Network-Based Palliative Radiotherapy to Reduce Travel Toxicity. Manuscript Accepted by Advances in Radiation Oncology.

Cramer GM, Moon EK, Cengel KA, Busch TM. Photodynamic Therapy and Immune Checkpoint Blockade. Photochem Photobiol. 2020 Jun 23. PMID: 32573787

Duan H, He Z, Lin M, Wang Y, Yang F, Mitteer RA, Kim HJ, Yeo E, Han H, Qin L, Fan Y, Gong Y. Plasminogen regulates mesenchymal stem cell-mediated tissue repair after ischemia through Cyr61 activation. JCI Insight. 2020 Aug 6;5(15):131376. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.131376. PMID: 32759492

Goodlet Dana, Hung Anna, Feriozzi Ashley, Lu Hien, Bekelman Justin, Mullins C. Daniell. Site Engagement for Multi-Site Clinical Trials. Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications, 2090-09-01, V. 19

Harris W, Zou W, Cheng C, Jain V, Teo BK, Dong, L, Feigenberg SJ, Berman AT, Levin WP, Cengel K, O’Reilly SE. Higher dose volumes may be better for evaluating radiation pneumonitis in lung proton therapy patients compared to traditional photon-based dose constraints. ADRO, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adro.2020.06.023

LaRiviere, MJ,* Chao, HH,* Doucette, A, Kegelman, TP, Taunk, NK, Freedman, GM, Vapiwala, N. Factors associated with fatigue in breast cancer patients undergoing external beam radiation therapy. Practical Radiation Oncology. Accepted. *co-first authors

Malajovich I, Anamalayil S, Dolney OV, Kevin Teo BK, Arscott WT, Taunk NK. Techniques for and uncertainties of MRI-based reconstruction of titanium tandem and ring brachytherapy applicators [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jul 2]. Brachytherapy. 2020;S1538-4721(20)30116-1. doi:10.1016/j.brachy.2020.05.005

Miao T, Petroccia H, Xie Y, Jermyn M, Perroni-Scharf M, Kapoor N, Mahoney JM, Zhu TC, Bruza P, Williams BB, Gladstone DJ, Pogue BW. Computer animation body surface analysis of total skin electron radiation therapy dose homogeneity via Cherenkov imaging. J Med Imaging (Bellingham). 2020 May;7(3):034002. PMID: 32509916

Ong YH, Miller J, Yuan M, Chandra M, El Khatib M, Vinogradov SA, Putt ME, Zhu TC, Cengel KA, Yodh AG, Busch TM. Blood Flow Measurements Enable Optimization of Light Delivery for Personalized Photodynamic Therapy. Cancers (Basel). 2020 Jun 15;12(6). PMID: 32549354

Patel A, Roshkovan L, McNulty S, Alley E, Torigian DA, Nachiappan AC, Galperin-Aizenberg M, Barbosa EM Jr, DiRienzi J, Berger I, Khalid U, Haas AR, Singhal S, Wileyto EP, Cengel KA, Katz SI. Delayed-Phase Enhancement for Evaluation of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma on Computed Tomography: A Prospective Cohort Study. Clin Lung Cancer. 2020 Jun 14:S1525-7304(20)30184-4. doi: 10.1016/j.cllc.2020.06.002. Online ahead of print. PMID: 32693945

Russell KL, Gorgulho CM, Allen A, Vakaki M, Wang Y, Facciabene A, Lee D, Roy P, Buchser WJ, Appleman LJ, Maranchie J, Storkus WJ, Lotze MT. Inhibiting Autophagy in Renal Cell Cancer and the Associated Tumor Endothelium. Cancer J. 2019 May/Jun;25(3):165-177. doi: 10.1097/PPO.0000000000000374. Review. PMID: 31135523

Vishruth K. Reddy, Varsha Jain, Sriram Venigalla, William P. Levin, Robert J. Wilson II, Kristy L. Weber, Anusha Kalbasi, Ronnie A. Sebro, Jacob E. Shabason. Radiotherapy remains underutilized in the treatment of soft-tissue sarcomas: disparities in practice patterns in the United States. JNCCN- Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. (2020).

Credits:

Created with images by Gibson Hurst™ - "untitled image" • PublicDomainPictures - "backdrop background blank board brown bulletin business" • Bru-nO - "welcome chalk flashlights" • Chris Murray - "Shot along the Schuylkill River, with the Philadelphia Art Museum and the center city skyline as the backdrop." • Christopher Gower - "Focus" • Yassine Khalfalli - "untitled image" • Mahendra Kumar - "untitled image"