INDIANAPOLIS – The world’s leading organization for oncology professionals recently honored Patrick J. Loehrer, Sr., MD, director of the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, for his extraordinary leadership.
Dr. Loehrer, HH Gregg Professor of Oncology and associate dean for cancer research at IU School of Medicine, received the inaugural Allen S. Lichter Visionary Leader Award on June 5 during the American Society of Clinical Oncology‘s (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago.
Dr. Loehrer is recognized as a prolific clinical researcher and specialist in the treatment of a variety of cancers, including cancers of the testis, bladder, colon, pancreas and, most notably, the thymus gland. His work led to the approval of ifosfamide for the treatment of testicular cancer, and his research related to thymic cancer was recognized with the Exceptional Service Award of the Foundation for Thymic Research. His research group most recently determined the genetic signature for thymic tumors that distinguishes aggressive from non-aggressive malignancies.
He is a founder of the Hoosier Cancer Research Network (formerly known as the Hoosier Oncology Group) and served as its chairman for two decades. The network has conducted trials in 20 countries around the world.
He also has been instrumental in creating a sustainable oncology health care system in western Kenya where none previously existed. Through the IU-led Academic Model for Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH) oncology program, approximately 8,000 patients are seen annually and nearly 60,000 women have been screened for breast and cervical cancers because of the efforts of Dr. Loehrer and colleagues.
“I am honored to have Dr. Loehrer receive the inaugural Allen S. Lichter Visionary Leader Award,” Dr. Lichter said. “His clinical research is exemplary. Helping create the Hoosier Oncology Group was a masterstroke. His international cancer work was well along before others discovered international oncology. He has been a leader in our professional society, the American Society of Clinical Oncology. In short, the selection committee could not have chosen a more deserving recipient of this award.”
The inaugural annual award honors the society’s 2006-2016 chief executive officer, Allen S. Lichter, MD, FASCO, who retired last year after a decade of service in the role. An ASCO member since 1980, Dr. Lichter served the society in several prominent volunteer roles, including president (1998-99) and founding chairman of the Conquer Cancer Foundation Board of Directors (1999), before accepting the position of CEO in 2006. During Dr. Lichter’s tenure as CEO, ASCO reached more than 40,000 members, including more than 13,000 international members and many allied health professionals.
The award honors Dr. Lichter’s commitment and contributions to ASCO and will continue his legacy by encouraging and recognizing extraordinary leadership in oncology.
“Dr. Loehrer is the perfect selection for the first Allen S. Lichter Visionary Leader Award,” Bryan Schneider, MD, associate professor of medicine at IU School of Medicine and a former hematology-oncology fellow at the IU Simon Cancer Center, said. “He embodies leadership, vision and the ability to inspire. He has the unique ability to lead in a thoughtful and humble manner that emboldens those around him to be become better people. His blend of humor and calm strength inspires those around him to want to follow his lead.”
Another former IU Simon Cancer Center fellow, Robin Zon, MD, of Michiana Hematology Oncology, added: “I have had the honor of observing Dr. Loehrer serve as a mentor, visionary, team leader and friend over the past 22 years to countless numbers of students, physicians, staff and patients. As a past fellow and recipient of Pat’s aptitudes, my success, along with my fellow colleagues, is no doubt due in large part to his guidance and benevolence. Although there are many examples highlighting how Pat’s career has changed the trajectory of cancer care throughout the world, as a community physician I especially admire his progressive thinking in building a collaborative research consortium between the academic and community oncologists more than 30 years ago, affectionately named the Hoosier Oncology Group.
“Additionally, Pat has been an incredible leader and architect within ASCO, by developing programs, mentoring and educating oncologists at all levels of their careers. These attributes, along with Pat’s integrity, humor and wisdom deservingly qualifies him to receive the first Allen S. Lichter Visionary Leadership Award.”
Founded in 1964, the American Society of Clinical Oncology Inc. (ASCO) is committed to making a world of difference in cancer care. As the world’s leading organization of its kind, ASCO represents more than 40,000 oncology professionals who care for people living with cancer. Through research, education, and promotion of the highest-quality patient care, ASCO works to conquer cancer and create a world where cancer is prevented or cured, and every survivor is healthy. ASCO is supported by its affiliate organization, the Conquer Cancer Foundation. Learn more at ASCO.org.