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Alexander Named Chief Surgical Officer at Rutgers Cancer Institute

Published Online:9:49 AM, Thu October 5, 2017
Internationally recognized surgeon H. Richard Alexander, MD, FACS, has been appointed as the new chief surgical officer at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. He will also be a professor of surgery in the Division of Surgical Oncology at the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and a part of the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at the cancer institute when his position begins this fall, according to a press release from Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

In appointing Alexander, Rutgers Cancer Institute has committed to expanding its surgical and research focuses on gastrointestinal cancers and rare malignancies including those of the endocrine and mesothelioma.

“As the state’s only National Cancer Institute [NCI]–designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey has an obligation to recruit the most accomplished professionals to ensure that the highest quality of care is being delivered to our patients. By adding Richard Alexander to our team, we are enabling our patients to receive additional surgical offerings that may not be afforded to them elsewhere,” Steven K. Libutti, MD, FACS, director of the Rutgers Cancer Institute, senior vice president of oncology services for RWJBarnabas Health, and vice chancellor for cancer programs for Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, said in a statement.

Coming from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Greenbaum Cancer Center, Alexander most recently was the head of surgical oncology in the Department of Surgery and a professor and associate chairman for clinical research.

Alexander also worked at the National Institutes of Health for 16 years prior to joining the University of Maryland, as chief of the Surgical Metabolism Section, chairman of the Gastrointestinal Malignancies Section, and as deputy director of the Center for Cancer Research at the NCI.

Well known for advancing the development of treatments for patients with peritoneal mesothelioma or peritoneal metastases that are a result of gastrointestinal cancers, Alexander also played a significant role in helping to develop a unique chemotherapy technique to treat patients with inoperable liver metastases resulting from melanoma.

His research also focuses on the assessment of molecular profiles and the tumor microenvironment of gastrointestinal malignancies with a goal of individualizing treatment for each patient.

“Dr Alexander’s vast experience in gastrointestinal cancers and rare malignancies such as mesothelioma will enhance Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School’s commitment to excellence as we train and mentor the next generation of surgeons, thus ensuring our role as an academic leader in surgical care,” Leonard Y. Lee, MD, FACS, FACC, FCCP, senior associate dean for clinical affairs of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School said in a statement.

Alexander is a member of many prominent organizations, including the American Surgical Association, Society of Surgical Oncology, American College of Surgeons, and many other professional surgical societies. He was a chair for the Society of Surgical Oncology’s Research Committee and was a member of the society’s Executive Committee. He is also currently the chair of the board of directors of the Mesothelioma Research Foundation.

He is a member of the editorial board for the Surgery journal and frequently edits for many other top journals. He has also published more than 250 peer-reviewed articles and several book chapters. 

His undergraduate degree was completed at the University of Colorado and his medical degree at Georgetown University. Then, he did a general surgery residency at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center before serving as a medical officer in the United States Navy. His fellowship in surgical oncology was completed at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

“It is my privilege to work at an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and an academic medical facility that are committed to conducting cutting-edge research and offering the latest treatment technologies in order to provide the best care possible for patients,” Alexander said in a statement. “By helping to educate those just starting their surgical careers and by working alongside the vast team of dedicated and highly experienced professionals at Rutgers Cancer Institute, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, I look forward to further enhancing the clinical and academic values of these very strong programs.”

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