Peter Pisters officially named president of UT MD Anderson

AUSTIN—The University of Texas System Board of Regents has named Peter W.T. Pisters, MD, MHCM, the next president of UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. Pisters, currently the president and chief executive officer of University Health Network in Toronto, Canada, will begin his new role later this year.

Regents approved the appointment at a special called meeting of the board today. Pisters was unanimously selected as the sole finalist for the position at a board meeting last month. Under state law, university governing boards must name finalists for a presidency at least 21 days before making an appointment.

Pisters is a renowned cancer surgeon, researcher and health care administrator who has overseen the largest hospital-based research program in Canada since January 2015. The University Health Network (UHN) is affiliated with the University of Toronto – recently ranked the 12th most outstanding academic institution in the world – and has more than 14,000 employees and a roughly $350 million research enterprise.

Prior to his appointment at UHN in his native Canada, Pisters spent 20 years as a cancer surgeon, researcher, professor and administrator at MD Anderson.

In a letter sent to faculty and staff after his appointment was made official Monday, Pisters said he was excited to return to a place that has occupied a prominent place in his heart for more than two decades.

“Together, we will embrace our profound purpose of Making Cancer History,” he said. “My promise to you is we will do so with a strong moral compass and principles of values-based servant leadership. The honor of serving as your president is one that I both respect and am humbled by, and I will spare no effort in working with you to build upon and extend MD Anderson’s unparalleled history of success.”

Pisters was selected as the sole finalist following recommendations from a presidential search advisory committee that reviewed nominations and applications for the position.

“Peter Pisters is an outstanding cancer surgeon who has devoted most of his professional life to the care of patients at MD Anderson Cancer Center,” said Ray Greenberg, M.D. Ph.D., UT System executive vice chancellor for health affairs. “Over the past three years, he has gained invaluable experience in Toronto leading one of the most respected academic health centers in North America. This combination of his clinical expertise, institutional knowledge, and servant leadership make Dr. Pisters the ideal person to take MD Anderson to the next level.”

MD Anderson Cancer Center is one of the world’s largest and most respected centers devoted exclusively to cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. Ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the nation’s top hospital for cancer care for nine of the past 10 years, MD Anderson has ranked in the No. 1 or No. 2 spot every year since U.S. News & World Report began the annual survey in 1990.

Since its inception 75 years ago, MD Anderson has focused exclusively on cancer, with expertise on every kind of cancer—even the rarest forms. Last year, nearly 135,000 people received care at MD Anderson—more than 41,000 of whom were new patients. Over 7,500 participants were enrolled in more than 1,200 clinical trials exploring innovative treatments. MD Anderson’s cancer clinical trial program is one of the largest of its kind in the U.S.

The search for a new leader began earlier this year when Ron DePinho, M.D. announced he would be stepping down as president. Marshall Hicks, M.D., will continue serving as interim president of MD Anderson until Pisters’ begins his new role.

About The University of Texas System

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking basic, applied and clinical research, and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States. With 14 institutions and an enrollment of more than 234,000 students, the UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates approximately two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public institutions in Texas. The UT System’s operating budget for FY 2018 is $18.3 billion, including $3.6 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With more than 20,000 faculty – including Nobel laureates and many members of the National Academies – and nearly 80,000 health care professionals, researchers, student advisors and support staff, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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