President-elect of the Association of Physician Assistants in Oncology hails from Moffitt Cancer Center

July 21, 2009

Tampa, FL – David Johnson, PA-C, in the sarcoma program at Moffitt Cancer Center, recognizes the disparity between the rise of the cancer population and the decline of physician assistants in the field. After recently being elected president of the Association of Physician Assistants in Oncology, he will have the chance to make a difference.

“The number of cancer patients is rising because of early detection and people living longer than ever, yet PAs traditionally enter family practice or surgery, not the oncology field,” Johnson said. “I will start with PA program education to hopefully change this trend and get people interested by teaching them you can still work in surgery and other areas while in oncology.”

Johnson will oversee the association and events, help promote the organization nationwide and forge a stronger relationship between APAO and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

“I’d like the two [APAO and ASCO] to work together as partners because PAs work with physicians as a team with the care of oncology patients, so it just makes sense for the two organizations to work together to make strides against cancer,” Johnson said.

Before joining the field of orthopedic oncology, Johnson worked in general orthopedics for 10 years. He said it was the search for a challenge and the desire to enter the academic world that led him to the clinical practice he loves.

“I have a passion for helping patients and potentially curing them of their cancer and getting to know the patients on a long-term basis,” Johnson said. “I love the relationships I get to establish with these cancer patients during the ongoing treatment and surveillance of their cancers.”

The APAO is a non profit specialty organization affiliated with the American Academy of Physician Assistants that consists of PAs working in both clinical and research cancer settings. APAO’s mission is to promote the utilization of Physician Assistants in the delivery of the best possible care available to people with cancer and related diseases.

About H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

Located in Tampa, Florida, Moffitt Cancer Center  is an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center - a designation that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research and contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt currently has 15 affiliates in Florida, one in Georgia and two in Puerto Rico. Additionally, Moffitt is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a prestigious alliance of the country’s leading cancer centers, and is listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” for cancer. Moffitt’s sole mission is to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer.