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Kachnic to join VUMC as new chair of Radiation Oncology

May 7, 2015 | John Howser

Lisa Kachnic, M.D., professor and chair of Radiation Oncology and associate director of Multidisciplinary Cancer Research at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), and chief of Radiation Oncology at Boston Medical Center (BMC), has been named the new professor and chair of the Vanderbilt Department of Radiation Oncology. She will join the faculty on Sept. 21.

Lisa Kachnic, M.D.

Lisa Kachnic, M.D.

Kachnic, who also serves on the Radiation Oncology faculty at Massachusetts General Hospital and is a fellow of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO), succeeds Arnold Malcolm, M.D., MBA, who retired from the position in December 2014.

As the new chair, Kachnic will be responsible for overseeing a department known for delivering world-class oncology services at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC), scientific discovery and educating leaders, along with its thriving residency program that trains academic clinicians and physician scientists as well as the nation’s first accredited medical physics professional doctorate program.

“Dr. Kachnic comes to Vanderbilt as a nationally recognized clinician, researcher and educator who will further mold our programs for national leadership in all three missions, on the 21st Avenue campus and at satellite programs throughout the region. Lisa brings a very strong research portfolio, a major national leadership profile and a superb history of mentoring junior faculty,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “I also want to express my gratitude to Dr. Michael Freeman who served as the interim department chair, to outstanding departmental clinical leaders including Dr. Anthony Cmelak and Dr. Eric Shinohara, and to the members of our search committee for their outstanding work.”

Kachnic’s primary areas of clinical interest include gastrointestinal (GI) malignancies, image-guided radiation delivery and outcomes and symptoms management research.

Dr. Kachnic brings transformative leadership to Vanderbilt, and I can think of no one better to lead the Department during a time of rapid integration of radiation oncology with targeted and immune therapies, enabling more precise cancer care for our patients. Lisa’s expertise will expand and enhance the existing radiation oncology programs and the Department’s reputation of excellence in translational research. Further, her extensive expertise in clinical investigation and delivery of oncology research in the community will advance our understanding of the causes and progression of cancer in the diverse population we serve,” said Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., the Benjamin F. Byrd Jr. Professor of Oncology and director of VICC.

“The Department of Radiation Oncology is a vital component of our clinical enterprise. The capability to provide our adult and pediatric cancer patients with the most comprehensive array of services, and our desire to continually improve the effectiveness of these therapies is central to our mission,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., deputy vice chancellor for Health Affairs and CEO of the Vanderbilt Health System. “I want to welcome Dr. Kachnic to this important role on our leadership team and know that she will help us continue to move patient care forward.”

The search committee for the Radiation Oncology chair was led by Reed Omary, M.D., M.S., the Carol D. and Henry P. Pendergrass Professor and chair of the Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences. Other members include: Nancy Brown, M.D.; Melinda Buntin, Ph.D.; Andre Churchwell, M.D.; Robert Dittus, M.D., MPH, John Gore, Ph.D., Howard W. Jones III, M.D., Michael Neuss, M.D., David Penson, M.D., MPH, Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D., Meg Rush, M.D., Herbert Schwartz, M.D., and John Wellons III, M.D.

“I would like to thank each committee member for their vital roles in the search process. We are thrilled that Dr. Kachnic will be joining us. We can’t wait for Lisa to bring her good humor, tremendous energy, far-reaching vision and tested leadership experience to Vanderbilt,” said Omary.

Kachnic is a 1987 graduate of Boston College and a 1991 graduate of the Tufts University School of Medicine. She completed a residency in Radiation Oncology at Harvard University, her last year as chief resident.

She is internationally recognized for her clinical trial leadership positions in the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and its cooperative group research bases. Kachnic is actively involved in the NRG Oncology (NSABP RTOG GOG) gastrointestinal (GI) and patient-reported outcome strategic committees, and is the co-chair of their NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) in Cancer Control and Prevention. She is vice-chair of the NCI Anorectal Cancer Taskforce and co-chair of the anorectal committee for the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG), where she also serves as their Multi-modality Executive Officer.

In addition to serving as Scientific Committee vice-chair and editor of ASTRO’s newsletter, she belongs to a number of other professional organizations including the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), where she chaired the group’s 2014 GI meeting and is a member of their annual meeting’s scientific program committee, and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JCNI) and Gastrointestinal Cancer Research.

After several years as chair of the American Board of Radiology (ABR) radiation oncology exams in GI cancers, Kachnic became the radiation oncology GI trustee for the ABR in 2010, and more recently was named as an ABR executive officer and president-elect.

Kachnic has been at Boston Medical Center and BUSM since 2000 when she joined the faculty after four years at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

At BMC, Kachnic has served as chair of the hospital’s cancer committee for the last decade, was the principal investigator of multiple Department of Defense awards and their NCI Minority-based Cancer Community Oncology Program, and has been a member of the Harvard Radiation Oncology Residency Program Executive Committee since 2011.

“One of my incentives for joining Vanderbilt is the wonderful opportunity that exists here for both clinical and translational cancer research. With a renowned cancer center, the Radiation Oncology Department will be in the fortunate position of being able to perform multi-disciplinary cutting-edge research that can directly benefit our patients,” Kachnic said.

She will be joined in Nashville by her husband, Stephen Englert, a NCAA Division 1 college baseball coach. They have one daughter, Sammi, who will be entering her senior year at Pitzer College in Claremont, California, as a media and film major.