Moffitt Awarded Statutory Teaching Hospital Designation

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State Designation Underscores Moffitt Commitment To Training Oncologists

In 2013, Moffitt Cancer Center was designated a Statutory Teaching Hospital by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. The designation is awarded to hospitals that have 100 or more full-time equivalent resident physicians, are affiliated with an accredited medical school and provide at least seven graduate medical education programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education or the Council on Postdoctoral Training of the American Osteopathic Association.

As an accredited participating site of the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, Moffitt trains more oncologists than any other institution in the state. More than 600 residents and fellows rotate annually through Moffitt from 39 USF training programs, which include blood and marrow transplant, hematology and medical oncology, surgical pathology and radiation oncology. In addition to medical and surgical training, each learns Moffitt’s interdisciplinary, personalized team approach to patient care.
G. Douglas Letson, M.D., Moffitt executive vice president of Clinical Affairs, physician-in-chief and director of Graduate Medical Education at Moffitt, answers questions on the importance of this designation.

Q: Why is this designation as a statutory teaching hospital important to Moffitt and to the medical community?
A: At Moffitt Cancer Center, patients have access to innovative treatments and research and the expertise of a multidisciplinary team approach to the patients care. Our focus is patient- and family-centered care. Ultimately, this represents a comprehensive approach to cancer that enables us to identify and meet all the clinical and social needs of patients and their families.

Our designation as a statutory teaching hospital officially recognizes the Cancer Center as a primary training site for future physicians who will serve throughout the spectrum of oncology-related specialties. Our contribution to the education of future oncology physicians is very important, considering the shortage of oncology physicians that is predicted in future years. As a direct benefit to the citizens of Florida, many of the trainees from our oncology training programs remain in the state to practice following completion of their training at Moffitt.

6-DSC0344_v2-Print.jpgQ: How does Moffitt contribute to the field of medicine – and cancer care in particular – through its resident physician programs? 

A: We have the largest oncology fellowship in the state, and we have more oncology fellowships than any of the other institutions. Graduates from our residencies and fellowships are placed in academic jobs and private practices throughout the state and beyond.

Q: Which Moffitt clinical programs have resident physicians and in what areas of oncology are the resident physicians trained? 

A: We train physicians from 36 different USF training programs at Moffitt, including Internal Medicine, Surgery, Radiology, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Surgical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Gynecologic Oncology, Hematology/Medical Oncology, Breast Oncologic Surgery and many other specialties. This amounts to more than 350 USF physicians in training educated on the Moffitt campus each year. Visiting medical students and physicians from other residency and fellowship programs boost that number to closer to 500 trainees who receive medical education at Moffitt at some point during the academic year.

Q: What do you see as the future or anticipated changes and improvements in resident physician programs and training?
A. As demand for more specialized care increases, so the demand for Moffitt to train these highly specialized oncology physicians also will increase. At Moffitt we currently have 45 oncology pathways initiated for various clinical conditions seen in oncology, 29 of which are already being used online. Oncology pathways allow the physician to treat the patient using the best evidence-based practices available. The oncology pathways allow us to define how the oncology patient is treated at every step. Patients and families will continue to drive improvements in the quality of medical care, demanding more evidence-based and proven multidisciplinary and individualized approaches to the oncology patient.

Q: Would you describe Moffitt as a trendsetter in this area?
A: Yes. We are the leaders in the nation in developing evidence-based oncology pathways. The basic medical and surgical training physicians receive at Moffitt meets and exceeds the standards set forth by the medical education accrediting agencies. Pathways have been proven to increase quality and reduce cost. We also have established a multidisciplinary, personalized team approach to patient care that has been recognized nationwide. Our commitment to patient- and family-centered care is at the core of everything we do. Those who train at Moffitt will apply what they learned here to their future practice. In this way our values extend beyond our walls and help to better the lives of patients throughout the state and the nation.

Q: What comprises Moffitt’s multidisciplinary, personalized team approach to patient care?
A: Within our disease-specific clinical programs, we enlist a team of experts from multiple disciplines to provide each of our patients with an evidence-based and personalized treatment plan. The multidisciplinary team includes surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, oncology nurses, protocol coordinators to assist with clinical trial accrual as well as other professionals important to the care of the patient. This multidisciplinary approach means that each patient receives a team of clinical specialists whose expertise is in a specific disease site. This team tailors treatment plans to the individual patient while providing state-of-the-art oncology care. This team also serves as an educational resource for patients and physicians in training.

Q: Have studies shown that patients who are treated at teaching hospitals have better outcomes?
A: Yes. Most of the information related to this topic is focused on certain types of surgeries. For example, the surgical approach to cancer of the pancreas is very complex. At a high-volume, academic medical center with internationally recognized experts in cancer care, you typically will see more of these types of complicated cases. Therefore, those physicians have more experience in performing the complex procedures when compared to a community physician who might perform the procedure on a limited basis. Also, academic medical centers typically offer more subspecialties than non-academic institutions. The medical professionals at Moffitt have a tremendous amount of talent, experience and expertise. Teaching the physicians of tomorrow also keeps our physicians up to date in their area of specialty. Academic medical centers participate in more clinical trials, and patients at academic medical centers have many more treatment options available.

Q: Moffitt sparks collaboration among the different program and specialties and encourages physicians and researchers to work together to find innovative patient care solutions. Can you cite an example that demonstrates collaboration between the University of South Florida and Moffitt?
A: There are many examples, but one such example involves collaboration on infections that are closely linked to some cancer types. The human papillomavirus, or HPV, has been found to be linked to cervical, anal, and head and neck cancer. By bringing together oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons and basic scientists, these cancers can be treated more successfully, possibly even prevented from developing in the first place. Moffitt faculty, both clinical and research, are working with the USF College of Medicine virologists and microbiologists to produce novel protocols that explore the latent viruses and their role in cancer development and immune suppression that may lead to the development of cancer. Once we understand more about how HPV can cause cancer, we can develop better treatments and preventions.
Moffitt enjoys a unique and long-standing relationship with USF, one that recognizes the distinct but complementary missions of each institution. While Moffitt employs its own faculty, including its own appointment, promotion and tenure process, Moffitt faculty also hold a faculty appointment at USF within the Department of Oncologic Sciences in the College of Medicine and often in other colleges and departments at USF. Moffitt faculty members provide teaching for USF, particularly in the training of medical students, residents, clinical subspecialty fellows, postdoctoral fellows and undergraduate and graduate students.
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