Neuss Named Chief Medical Officer

March 8, 2011 | Cynthia Manley

Michael Neuss, M.D.

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center has appointed Michael Neuss, M.D., as chief medical officer for its clinical enterprise.

A Duke-trained oncologist in practice since 1986, Neuss was, until December, the vice president of the largest oncology practice in the Cincinnati area. He assumes the newly created position July 1.

Neuss will report to C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., deputy vice chancellor for Health Affairs and senior associate dean for Clinical Affairs at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., director of the Cancer Center.

He will also hold a faculty position as professor in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Hematology/Oncology.

“Breakthroughs in the care of patients with cancer will be possible only through the coordinated efforts of people working together,” Neuss said, noting that the collegial environment for which Vanderbilt is known was a major attraction for him.

“All the pieces necessary — the knowledge base, informatics tools, technical skill and caring of providers — really seem to be present in the Cancer Center. It is a great honor to join this team.”

Neuss completed his medical degree, post-graduate and fellowship training at Duke University School of Medicine. In 1986, he joined Oncology/Hematology Care Inc. as its second physician.

The practice now includes 48 oncology specialists, 300 non-physician employees and a $200 million budget, with 15 locations in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. He has led technology and quality initiatives at each location.

On the national scene, Neuss has been involved in several quality initiatives of the American Society of Clinical Oncology as well as an American Board of Medical Specialties project to define oncology episodes and a national panel defining quality oncology services for payers.

“In the face of health care reform, demonstrating value and outcomes will be an increasingly important aspect of what we deliver to our patients, referring providers and payers,” Pinson said. “Michael’s leadership, focus and experience will be critical as we move forward.”

Creation of this new role is vital to Vanderbilt’s ability to meet the demands for oncology care in the face of an aging population (average onset of cancer is age 67), a forecasted shortage of oncologists and increasing financial constraints.

“Michael will fill an important niche in providing physician leadership across the cancer clinical enterprise, which involves virtually every clinical department and division at the Medical Center,” Pietenpol said.

“In collaboration with his physician colleagues, Michael will develop strategies to assure clinical growth, on campus and in community settings.”

Neuss’ selection is the result of a lengthy national search that involved a search firm, consultation by veteran oncologist Joe Simone, M.D., and the leadership of VICC’s Clinical Enterprise Committee as well as Nancy Brown, M.D., chair of Medicine.

“Mike prioritizes quality patient care and understands our academic mission,” Brown said.

“The qualified candidates for this position are few and far between, and many National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers are searching for similar roles in the same talent pool,” Pietenpol said.

“The Cancer Center is grateful to the many leaders at Vanderbilt who contributed to this exciting recruitment.”

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