Archive for September, 2018


Sep 24 2018

A Few Steps Forward

by at 12:17 pm

So, I had a weekend that, based on recent events, was really quite busy! I had hoped to attend the Biden Initiative’s Cancer Town Hall on Friday evening, but my mobility is not yet sufficient to make that feasible. However, things improved over the weekend.

Aside from continuing obsessive CCSG preparations, I actually left our home to get a haircut and was able to hobble up a three-step stoop to get into the shop without disaster. Then, Harriet and I went over to the home of friends for dinner. It was delightfully normal. Sunday was sedentary but brightened considerably by visits from my father, my first cousin from Belgium and her husband, and our kids and grandchildren. It was chaotic but exhilarating (poor Harriet!), and fun to watch the Eagles pull out a somewhat deserved victory over the Colts.

I am looking forward to our second EAC meeting on Tuesday night and Wednesday as we have our next round of formal site visit presentations and feedback. And, with any luck, my orthopedist visit earlier that day will lead to a relaxation on the “straight leg and no weight bearing” rule. We’ll see.

Have a great week.

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Sep 17 2018


by at 10:33 am

Our CCSG site visit is now one month away. We had a group of our external advisors in on Tuesday night and Wednesday for a run through and received a lot of very helpful feedback that will help us as we gear up for the big day. We all have work to do on our presentations (me more than the others!) as we prepare for our next external advisory group to review our presentations on September 26th. I am deeply grateful for all of the wonderful work done by our presenters and so many others to pull together our efforts. Much of the late week and weekend was spent revising my Director’s Overview for the CCSG application. It is getting there.

We know that the site reviewers will find that our education programs are exceptional, thanks in large part to the leadership, service and dedication of Anna Riegel, PhD. As some of you may have seen, we recently selected Mike Johnson, PhD, to take over as the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), a role previously held by Anna that includes managing the Tumor Biology Training Program. In addition to Mike, Rebecca Riggins, PhD, will serve as a key member of Georgetown Lombardi’s Education Oversight Committee, which Mike leads.

The tumor biology program is among the longest-running and longest continually-funded pre- and post-doctoral NCI-funded training programs in the country, thanks in large part to Anna’s tireless efforts. In fact, she recently submitted a grant request for another five years of funding for the program, on top of her continuous R01 funding. While she will no longer serve as DGS, Anna will continue her research at Lombardi, and I am grateful for her numerous contributions to our cancer center.

I had a busy week. We celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, on Sunday evening and Monday, and I pushed myself to attend services and fully participate in family and friends events. Before the external advisors dinner on Tuesday evening I gave a presentation to our combined Georgetown and MedStar development teams, who were having a joint retreat to identify ways to collaboratively raise funds for our cancer mission. This is important work, and I was delighted to hobble over to GU’s Development offices on Wisconsin avenue to do my part!

Friday was notable for the visit of our Grand Rounds speaker, Ethan Dimitrovsky, Director of the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNLCR), and former Provost of MD Anderson. Ethan is an old friend and colleague, and we heard a wonderful presentation and had fabulous discussions as we work to expand our relationship with FNLCR. I was able to move around well enough to introduce Ethan from the front of the Research Auditorium (a big moment for me!). I look forward to seeing my orthopedist on the 25th, and hope I’ll get the go ahead to do a bit of weight bearing on my right leg. We’ll see…

I hope your week goes well.

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Sep 10 2018

Gearing up for External Advisory Committee Meeting

by at 10:48 am

I hope you are having a good weekend. It felt great to get into the office on Thursday and Friday. I devoted Tuesday to a doctor’s visit up in Baltimore; my leg is healing well but I have to stay non-weight bearing for another three weeks or so. I spent the rest of the day Tuesday and Wednesday working from home, taking a lot a of calls and meetings. Thursday was pretty full with meetings, and I was able to hobble around in the suite reasonably well. That evening I hosted a fundraising event for our heme malignancy research and transplant work, done in collaboration with our JTCC partners, at the Cosmos Club; as the club’s membership is on the mature side, handicap accessibility was not a problem. The event attracted more than 70 current and former Lombardi patients and their family members, and was very successful. Thanks to Justine Weissenborn and her advancement colleagues for making it all happen, and to our distinguished group of physician-investigator colleagues from all of Lombardi’s areas.

Friday was a real milestone for me in my recovery. I actually worked out in the morning (upper body only) and spent about 5 hours at work. I was able to independently get myself down to the Research Building Auditorium (and back again) for Grand Rounds, and then returned home to dress for dinner.

Harriet and I were invited to a dinner at Riggs Library to honor Paul Tagliabue for his service to the University, most recently on the Board of Directors. Paul and his wife Chan have been influential and steadfast supporters of Lombardi and its mission, and I was honored to attend. I would not have missed it for anything. However, it was not easy! First of all, poor Harriet had to drive through a veritable monsoon and then we had to find the handicapped parking area adjacent to Healy Hall. Once there, we had to find the handicapped entrance, and get there through the downpour, with me (not) gliding along in my walker, until we got into the building. Then, we needed to identify the elevator needed to get up to Riggs. I cannot begin to tell you how my respect for disabled individuals has grown as I learn to navigate through my temporary challenges. At any rate, the event was fabulous, and I was proud to have been able to make my Friday as event-filled and productive as it was. It felt like being almost normal.

I have spent the weekend preparing for Tuesday and Wednesday’s visit of our External Advisory Committee meeting as we prepare for our site visit. Another visit from the other half of our Advisors will occur on September 26. I cannot thank Sharon Levy enough for her incredible commitment and excellence as we prepare for these events.

I will be off tomorrow to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. For those of you who celebrate, I wish you a heartfelt L’Shanah Tovah! May the coming year be sweet and filled with good health and happiness. I will be back in the office on Tuesday, in full CCSG attack mode.

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Sep 04 2018

Labor Day

by at 10:46 am

It’s hard to believe summer is drawing to a close. Mine ended in early August when I had my accident, but still the time has flown by, albeit without the fun. My leg is certainly improving, and it was great to get into the office on Friday for our first set of site visit rehearsals. We are going to be ready and we will do well. Having stated that, we still need to put in the necessary work to make it happen.

As we head into the long Labor Day weekend, I don’t have a lot of other news to share, with the exception of our retooled Lombardi website. The high-level upgrades to our Lombardi website are now complete! This process included numerous meetings with stakeholders, an affinity meeting with key parties (where the site map was determined) and a more thorough meeting with a patient care focus. The changes made were based on that work, and intended to meet expectations related to the CCSG review. I’d like to thank Sarah Riehl and John Richards from the GUMC communications team, and Mike Johnson who was extremely generous with his time and energy on this project.

The CCSG site visitors who peruse our website will indeed find that we do what we say we do. And what we do is pretty terrific.

Enjoy the unofficial end of summer. I’lll see you next week. Have a great holiday.

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