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Allegheny Health Network and Johns Hopkins Medicine Sign 5-Year Definitive Agreement for Cancer Collaboration

Monday, July 7, 2014

Officials at Allegheny Health Network and Johns Hopkins Medicine today announced that a definitive agreement has been signed by the two organizations that establishes a five-year formal collaboration between Allegheny and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins for research, medical education and clinical services.   
The innovative collaboration is expected to benefit cancer patients in the western Pennsylvania region and beyond by further advancing cancer research, expanding access to Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center clinical trials and helping establish new standards of cancer care innovation for the future. 
“We are extremely pleased to have reached a collaborative agreement with our colleagues at Johns Hopkins that we believe will be of tremendous value to our respective cancer programs and the communities we serve,” said David Parda, M.D., System Chair, Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute. “This unique opportunity to collaborate with such an accomplished and respected institution not only will enhance the scope and capabilities of our cancer services, but it demonstrates clearly to all of our patients and the community that we are committed to meeting their healthcare needs in innovative and meaningful ways.”
Allegheny Health Network is a western Pennsylvania-based integrated healthcare system that serves patients from across a five state region that includes Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The Network’s Cancer Institute offers a complete spectrum of oncology care, including access to state-of-the-art technologies and new therapies being explored in clinical cancer trials.
The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center is one of the nation’s 41 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute, and one of the first to earn that status. Research led by its faculty is among the most highly-cited in cancer research. Johns Hopkins has pioneered fields such as cancer genetics, bone marrow transplant medicine and cancer immunotherapy.
As part of the definitive agreement, Allegheny and Johns Hopkins will pursue five specific areas of collaboration, including;
•             Clinical Consultation: Johns Hopkins physicians will provide consultative services including second opinions to AHN oncologists for rare cancer cases and novel therapies that may include clinical trials. Certain clinical trials may also be extended to AHN facilities, when appropriate. 
•             Research and Discovery: The collaborative agreement will support cancer research at Johns Hopkins and Allegheny Health Network, including basic, translational, clinical and population studies. Johns Hopkins and AHN physicians/scientists are eligible to apply for research grants focused on cancer discovery and patient care.
•             Quality and Safety: The two institutions will participate in joint projects designed to improve the quality and safety of cancer care including developing and implementing standards of care and quality benchmarks for AHN disease sites, as needed. 
•             Education: Kimmel Cancer Center experts will provide continuing medical education opportunities for AHN physicians and allied health professionals, including monthly grand rounds and allied health presentations delivered by Johns Hopkins staff onsite at an AHN facility, AHN physician and allied health professionals having access to these programs at Johns Hopkins, and observership opportunities at Hopkins, either in person or via telemedicine technology, for AHN staff.
•             Service and Patient Support: The organizations will work together to strengthen their respective supportive care programs, such as palliative care, survivorship, cancer screening and prevention, cancer pre-habilitation and rehabilitation and cancer navigation programs.
Allegheny Health Network’s cancer program currently includes more than 200 clinical trials offered throughout its network of hospitals and clinics. The Network is home to more than 80 medical, surgical and radiation oncology physician practices, one of the state’s largest bone marrow transplant and cellular therapy programs, and the nation’s largest – and western Pennsylvania’s only – radiation oncology network accredited by both the American Society for Radiation Oncology and American College of Radiology. 
The National Cancer Institute-funded National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) chair Norman Wolmark, M.D., and a number of other NSABP leaders also have their clinical practices based at Allegheny General Hospital, the flagship academic medical center of Allegheny Health Network.
“Highmark Health is proud to help support this collaborative effort between two outstanding health care organizations because it will significantly strengthen our collective ability to improve the care of cancer patients today and in the years ahead,” said David L. Holmberg, president and Chief Executive Officer of Highmark Health.   “Our goal at all times is to ensure that patients have access to high quality health care, and this agreement is an important step for the residents of our region.”
Formed in 2013, Allegheny Health Network is home to eight hospitals, a research institute, the Allegheny Clinic (a large employed physician group), a group purchasing organization, ambulatory surgery centers and Health + Wellness Pavilions.   
Editor’s Note: William Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, is available to discuss the collaborative agreement with Allegheny Health Network. Please contact Vanessa Wasta at 410-614-2916, to schedule an interview.