By Patrick Hwu, M.D. - November 09, 2021
One year. 52 weeks. 365 days. 525,600 minutes.
There are many ways to define a year, and during my first at Moffitt Cancer Center I have learned it’s not the way we track time, but what we do with all the moments. Here, all moments matter. You have showed me that Moffitt remains steadfast in doing our part to reduce the cancer burden in Florida and across the country. I am so proud to be part of this incredible mission-driven institution and have so much to be thankful for as we head into the holiday season.
Since I stepped through these doors on Nov. 10, 2020, I have witnessed Moffitt’s unparalleled dedication to research and commitment to providing cutting-edge prevention measures and treatment. As the new guy in town, I was focused on meeting the team. Over the past year, I have hosted more than 40 listening tours with various departments around the cancer center. Through these tours, I have been able to learn about the organization and its culture and engage in meaningful conversation with team members and leaders. This provided me the framework to establish my priorities for the years to come.
We not only survived the COVID-19 pandemic, we thrived. And through it all, we put our patients first. We implemented new safety protocols, increased virtual visits by more than 5,000% and have vaccinated more than 15,000 individuals since the COVID-19 vaccine became available in December. We also opened our first curbside clinic at the McKinley Campus, offering select services to patients from their vehicles. We now connect patients by phone to an expert from their care team within 24 hours — before they come to the cancer center for their first appointment. We are treating more patients than ever with our continued expansions. This year, our Wesley Chapel location opened and we broke ground on the new Moffitt expansion hospital. We are also in the planning stages of developing our 775-acre land in Pasco County.
We had a very successful legislative session this year. Thanks to an increase in the state cigarette tax, our total revenue from the tax will grow from $15.5 million a year to $26.5 million until 2024. In July 2024, that amount will increase to $37.5 million until 2054. This funding will help us expand, save more lives with novel therapies, enroll more patients in clinical trials and work to end health care disparities. Thanks to these ongoing efforts, we have received our highest Cancer Center Support Grant score to date.
I have also been so humbled by the generous support and donations from the community. In my first year, I watched the Foundation raise $33.3 million, the highest amount since the Foundation’s inception in 1994. This includes a $10 million donation from the Pentecost family to create a Multiple Myeloma Research Center.
I want to one day call Moffitt the cell therapy capitol of the universe and to do so we have created the Future of Cell Therapy Working Group, a multidisciplinary and cross-functional lineup of physician scientists, clinical investigators and team members from across business and administrative units. Together, I know we can make it happen!
I cannot wait to take all this momentum and use it to propel us into the future, as we work to help more patients, save lives, enhance our reputation and become an international leader in cancer research and care.