UT officially names MD Anderson’s new president

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 - Peter Pisters, MD, MHCM
Peter Pisters, MD, MHCM

The board of regents at the University of Texas (UT) finalized the selection of Peter Pisters, MD, MHCM, as the next president of the MD Anderson Cancer Center, a role which has sat vacant since the departure of Ronald DePinho, MD.

Pisters, currently serving as president and CEO of University Health Network in Toronto, had been named the sole finalist for the job in August. The UT regents officially approved his appointment at a meeting in Austin, Texas, on Sept. 18.

“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,” Ray Greenberg, MD, PhD, UT’s executive vice chancellor for health affairs, said in statement. “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.”

Before taking the University Health System job in 2015, Pisters had spent more than two decades at MD Anderson, beginning as an surgeon and working his way up to management roles, including vice president of its regional care system. He earned his MD at the University of Western Ontario and his master’s degree in healthcare management from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

“My promise to you is we will do so with a strong moral compass and principles of values-based servant leadership,” he said in a letter to staff. “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.”

Marshall Hicks, who was been serving as interim president since DePinho resigned, will continue until Pisters takes over later this year.

He’ll come in with challenges left over from his predecessor’s reign. MD Anderson had finished 2016 with a $267 million budget shortfall blamed on an expensive electronic health record rollout, with around 1,000 jobs being cut as a result. DePinho announced his resignation in March, not mentioning specific failures but saying he “could have done a better job administratively, a better job listening, a better job communicating.” MD Anderson maintained its reputation for high-quality care despite those struggles, again being named the nation’s top cancer hospital by U.S. News and World Report.