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A New Day Arrives at the Gila Regional Cancer Center

The Gila Regional Medical Center (GRMC) Cancer Center has been in the process of rebuilding and restructuring its cancer program over the past three months in collaboration with its new cancer care provider, the University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center (UNMCCC). As one of the nation's 49 National Cancer Institute (NCI) Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, widely considered the pre-eminent cancer treatment programs in the nation, the UNMCCC has been working very closely with the GRMC leadership to identify and credential oncology physicians and to hire key staff to assure that GRMC can provide outstanding cancer care. As the UNMCCC seeks a full time medical oncologist to direct the GRMC Cancer Center, medical oncology and radiation oncology physicians currently practicing at the UNMCCC will provide care. Once hired, the full time medical oncologist will live in Silver City and become part of the community. The UNMCCC has also hired Marvin White, Physician Assistant (PA), who will work with UNMCCC physicians and GRMC staff to coordinate cancer care. Mr. White is currently undergoing intensive training at the UNMCCC to prepare for his new position at GRMC's Cancer Center. The UNMCCC has also worked closely with GRMC to purchase necessary equipment and computer and data systems to assure that GRMC has a fully integrated clinical operation and infrastructure to deliver high quality cancer care.

On October 20th, the GRMC Cancer Center will again be offering medical oncology and chemotherapy services to cancer patients with its sights set on a bright future with UNMCCC. Radiation oncology treatments will resume shortly, once the State of New Mexico has completed required inspections of newly certified equipment and IT systems for radiation treatment planning and quality and safety.

"It is exciting to see this transition come to fruition" said Taffy Arias, Chief Executive Officer for GRMC. "It is a new day for the Cancer Center and patients we serve. Once the full time medical oncologist is in place, the Cancer Center will be able to expand its hours of physician coverage to Monday through Friday. Providing safe quality patient care has always been the focus of Gila Regional Medical Center."

There will be an open house of the GRMC Cancer Center on October 19, 2017, from 10:00 AM till 12:00 noon. Cheryl Willman, MD, Director and CEO of the UNMCCC, and several physicians and colleagues from UNMCCC will be visiting and available to meet with the public. The GRMC Cancer Center will resume medical oncology patient care on October 20, 2017.

Gila Regional Medical Center is a county-owned, not-for-profit, 68-bed acute care hospital with a strong commitment to the people they serve. Investments in technology and certified caregivers provide quality care delivery through a patient-centered approach. It is home to the Gila Regional Cancer Center and the Surgical Center of the Southwest. GRMC is rated a 4-Star Quality Care Hospital by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and is a recipient of the HealthInsight Quality Care Award for New Mexico. Go to for more information.

The University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center is the Official Cancer Center of New Mexico and the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center in a 500-mile radius. Its 125 board-certified oncology specialty physicians include cancer surgeons in every specialty (abdominal, thoracic, bone and soft tissue, neurosurgery, genitourinary, gynecology, and head and neck cancers), adult and pediatric hematologists/medical oncologists, gynecologic oncologists, and radiation oncologists. They, along with more than 500 other cancer healthcare professionals (nurses, pharmacists, nutritionists, navigators, psychologists and social workers), provided cancer care for nearly 60 percent of the adults and children in New Mexico affected by cancer. They treated 11,249 patients in 84,875 ambulatory clinic visits in addition to in-patient hospitalizations at UNM Hospital. These patients came from every county in the State. More than 12 percent of these patients participated in cancer clinical trials testing new cancer treatments and 35 percent of patients participated in other clinical research studies, including tests of novel cancer prevention strategies and cancer genome sequencing. The 130 cancer research scientists affiliated with the UNMCCC were awarded almost $60 million in federal and private grants and contracts for cancer research projects and published 301 high quality publications. Promoting economic development, they filed more than 30 new patents in FY16, and since 2010, have launched 11 new biotechnology start-up companies. Scientists associated with the UNMCCC Cancer Control & Disparities have conducted more than 60 statewide community-based cancer education, prevention, screening, and behavioral intervention studies involving more than 10,000 New Mexicans. Finally, the physicians, scientists and staff have provided education and training experiences to more than 230 high school, undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral fellowship students in cancer research and cancer health care delivery. Learn more at

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