Leading cancer administrator to head UF Shands Cancer Center

Dr. Joseph V. Simone, an internationally recognized leader in cancer care, research and education, has been named director of the University of Florida Shands Cancer Center and physician-in-chief of cancer services for Shands at UF, effective July 1.

Simone, who will serve as a professor in the division of hematology/oncology in the COM’s department of pediatrics, has held leadership positions in some of the country’s top cancer programs and is making a second stop at UF. He served as a consultant in the planning for the Shands at UF Cancer Hospital and the university’s overall cancer program in 2006 and 2007, briefly holding an appointment as UF associate vice president for health affairs.

It’s Simone’s knowledge of UF, Shands and Tampa-based Moffitt Cancer Center, which he has also served as an adviser, that makes him the ideal person to advance the partnership between the three entities announced this past January, said Dr. Bruce Kone, dean of the UF College of Medicine.

“Dr. Simone is very familiar with the Moffitt, UF and Shands organizations, and highly regarded by the leadership of all three,” Kone said. “His recruitment sends a loud message that the Moffitt-UF-Shands partnership will be a prominent force nationally and internationally in cancer prevention, care, education and research.”

A pediatric oncologist, Simone worked for 25 years at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, where he helped develop treatments for childhood leukemia and lymphoma. In 1983, he was named director of St. Jude, turning his efforts to the administrative leadership of the hospital and its research programs. During his tenure, St. Jude experienced both a scientific renewal and major growth in its physical facilities, Kone said.

From 1992 to 1996, Simone served as physician-in-chief of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, where he developed a cancer disease management system and a regional clinical cancer network. He left New York to become executive director of the University of Utah’s Huntsman Cancer Institute, where he served five years. He has served as an independent consultant to cancer programs for the past seven years.

Simone’s key goals include leading a redesign of UF and Shands clinical cancer services to better align them with the patient-centered programs offered by Moffitt. He will also work to integrate UF and Shands patient-care and research activities with Moffitt’s “Total Cancer Care” program and the renewal of its prestigious National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center core grant.

Simone said he is enthusiastic about the challenge of finding synergy in this marriage of well-established cancer programs.

“This is a unique opportunity for three very strong institutions to join in the cancer enterprise,” Simone said. “That’s a chance you get very rarely in this field. So I’m looking forward to tackling this new opportunity and exploring all the ways it can benefit the people of Florida.”

In addition to reporting to Kone, Simone will also have a reporting relationship to Shands HealthCare Chief Executive Officer Tim Goldfarb and Dr. William S. Dalton, president, CEO and center director of Moffitt.

“In his role as senior adviser for Moffitt’s Total Cancer Care initiative, Dr. Simone has shown he knows what it takes to improve cancer care across the state,” said Dalton. “I am confident he will be able to lead the UF Shands Cancer Center to our shared goal of providing the highest level of compassionate patient care and outstanding research.”

“Dr. Simone’s reputation of focusing on the patient first is well-deserved,” Goldfarb said. “Although he is a renowned scientist, he never forgets, in word or deed, that his science is focused on improving human health. His knowledge and insight will be invaluable as we continue our efforts to improve our cancer programs and integrate the Total Cancer Care model.”

Simone has served as medical director and chairman of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and as a member of the Board of Scientific Advisors of the National Cancer Institute from 1996 to 2002. He has been a member of the National Cancer Policy Board of the Institute of Medicine since 1997 and served as its chairman until 2005. He serves on the external advisory committees of 12 NCI-designated cancer centers. He is past chairman of both the Cancer Clinical Investigators Review Committee and the Cancer Center Review Committee of the National Cancer Institute.

He is a former president of the Association of American Cancer Institutes and former vice chairman of the Pediatric Oncology Group. Among his awards and honors, Simone was elected to the Association of American Physicians. In addition, the American Association for Cancer Research awarded him the Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Foundation Award and the American Society of Clinical Oncology awarded him the Distinguished Service Award for Scientific Excellence in 2002 and the Public Service Award in 2006.

Simone is expected to serve a two-year appointment. He succeeds Dr. W. Stratford May Jr., who stepped down as cancer center director in April.