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New interim director at Cancer Center

Thomas VanderMeer, MD, FACS, named interim director of Upstate Cancer Center

Thomas J. VanderMeer, MD, FACS, who serves as Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at the Upstate Cancer Center, Upstate Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs and Quality Development of Surgery and Professor of Surgery, has been named interim director of the Upstate Cancer Center.

The appointment, effective today, June 7, was announced by Lawrence Chin, MD, dean of the College of Medicine.

VanderMeer succeeds Jeffrey Bogart, MD, who served as interim director of the Cancer Center since February 2016.

“I am pleased to announce that Dr. VanderMeer will serve as the new leader of the Upstate Cancer Center,” Chin said. “Dr. VanderMeer is an innovative clinical leader, especially in the areas of patient safety, quality and clinical growth, where his work already has provided new programming and charted significant overall growth in clinical volume for various cancer surgeries. We are fortunate to have him at the helm of the Upstate Cancer Center.”

Chin also acknowledged Bogart’s outstanding leadership of the Upstate Cancer Center.

“I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Dr. Bogart whose steady hand in guiding the Upstate Cancer Center has allowed Upstate to offer patients through New York and beyond some of the finest cancer services available,” Chin said. “A hallmark of Dr. Bogart’s leadership has been the embrace and nurturing of a successful patient-first philosophy, where patients receive the support they need from the moment they connect with the center.”

Under Bogart’s leadership, many new services were added to the cancer center. In addition to patient care, Bogart championed clinical trials and funded research opportunities for faculty.

The Upstate Cancer Center recorded more than 75,000 patient visits in 2020 with more than 100,000 visits in total counting those to its satellite locations.

While Bogart transitions out of the Upstate Cancer Center interim director post, he remains on the Upstate faculty as professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology. Prior to Bogart’s service as interim director, Leslie Kohman, MD, served as medical director of the Upstate Cancer Center from 2010 to 2015.

VanderMeer has been associated with the Upstate Cancer Center, having served as chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology and medical director of the GI oncology program. He has helped reestablish a robust HepatoPancreatoBiliary (HPB) Surgery/Complex Surgical Oncology program. Working with Cancer Center Leadership, VanderMeer initiated a new multidisciplinary clinic for colorectal cancer patients.

Prior to joining Upstate medical staff in 2019, VanderMeer served as Professor of Surgery and Regional Associate Dean at the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine School and in a number of leadership roles at The Guthrie Clinic. These roles focused on healthcare system integration, quality and transition to value-based care. His relationship with Upstate dates back to 2000 when he served as site director for the general surgery clerkship.

He is a diplomate of the American Board of Surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

VanderMeer has served as lead or senior author for dozens of papers published in national journals on graduate medical education, clinical surgery and rural healthcare disparities.

VanderMeer holds a medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia (1990), and did his post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School as a research fellow in surgery (1992-94); completed surgical residency training at University of Massachusetts Medical School (1990-92, 1994-97), and trained as a clinical fellow in hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery at University of Toronto (1997-98). He also completed the Advanced Training Program in Healthcare Quality Improvement at Intermountain Healthcare (2015) and earned a master of science in healthcare administration from Kings College (2019).

The Upstate Cancer Center

Encompassing over 90,000 square feet, the Upstate Cancer Center, which opened in 2014, features the most comprehensive services, including screening, molecular tumor analysis, and genetic counseling, and treatment options for cancer patients in the region. The Upstate Cancer Center is the only center in CNY that offers true multidisciplinary care through its dedicated tumor site specific cancer programs. Patients receive a state-of-the-art individualized opinion on managing their disease from a team of experts who consult together: surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and other specialists. This provides personalized treatment tailored to each patient’s needs.

The center is also home to Dr. William J. Waters Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders.

Upstate Cancer Center provides treatment for all forms of cancer, including blood, bone, brain, breast, colon, endocrine, genitourinary, gynecologic, liver, bladder, pancreas, lung, chest, prostate, thyroid, and cancers and blood disorders associated mostly with children, including leukemia, brain and bone tumors and sickle cell.

The Upstate Cancer Center network also includes the: Upstate Cancer Center at Oswego Radiation Oncology and Hematology Oncology, Upstate Cancer Center at Hill Radiation Oncology in Syracuse, Upstate Cancer Center Gynecology Oncology at Madison Irving in Syracuse, Upstate Cancer Centers at Oneida Radiation Oncology and Hematology Oncology. Upstate Cancer Center physicians also partner with area hospitals, including Mohawk Valley Health System (radiation oncology and urologic oncology), Auburn Community Hospital (medical oncology, urologic oncology, colorectal surgery and breast surgery), Guthrie Cortland Medical Center (radiation oncology and urologic oncology), Oswego health (breast surgery), and UHS Binghamton General Hospital (urologic oncology).