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HCI Clinical Leadership Announcement

We are pleased to announce that Dr. John Ward, the Margaret A. Amundsen Endowed Professor of Medicine, has accepted the positions of Interim Senior Director of Clinical Affairs and Interim Physician-in-Chief of Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah.  In these roles, Dr. Ward will report directly to the CEO of HCI and will serve as a member of the Institute’s enterprise leadership team. John will continue to care for breast cancer patients while assuming these new responsibilities. 


Dr. Ward is a distinguished oncologist, scholar, and educator, having trained at the University of Utah and Duke University, and joining our faculty in 1982.   Dr. Ward has held several major administrative and leadership roles including Chief of the Division of Medical Oncology from 1999-2012 and Medical Director of Inpatient Cancer Services at University Hospital and subsequently HCI from 1988-2015.  In addition, Dr. Ward has served as a mentor and sponsor of many of our talented and dedicated medical oncology faculty. Over the years, he has been a member of numerous committees and review panels for ASCO, NCCN, and NCI, has served as HCI’s lead representative to the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) clinical trials network, and has committed to HCI’s goal of expanding our geographic impact by bringing HCI oncology services to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson, WY.  His years of dedicated service to cancer patients give him both wisdom and perspective that will enable him to provide distinguished leadership of clinical services at HCI.


We are also pleased to announce that Dr. Tom Varghese will serve as Interim Executive Medical Director at HCI and, as such, will serve as one of HCI’s representatives on the Board of Directors of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.  Dr. Varghese currently serves as HCI’s Chief Value Officer.  Dr. Varghese will work closely with Dr. Ward and Dr. Tom Miller, Chief Medical Officer of University of Utah Health.  He will also lead HCI’s collaborative partnership with Flatiron Health.


Dr. Varghese is an Associate Professor of Surgery and Head of the Section of General Thoracic Surgery. He holds national leadership positions in the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the Surgery Directors Association, and the American College of Surgeons.  He helped create the Strong for Surgery program and is a health services researcher with NCI R01 funding that is focused on testing the impact of a Precision Exercise Prescription (PEP) for patients undergoing elective lung cancer surgery.  Dr. Varghese is also committed to training the next generation, having served as Program Director for the Cardiothoracic Fellowship since 2016.


Drs. Ward and Varghese consistently model their commitment to HCI’s values of “The Patient First, United Effort, and Excellence in All We Do.”  They succeed Dr. John Sweetenham who has served in these important institutional roles for the past six years, and they will assume their new responsibilities on April 1, 2019.  Please join us in thanking Dr. Sweetenham for his contributions and welcoming Drs. Ward and Varghese to their new leadership roles.