Jul 26, 2019 11:00 AM

Mary Beckerle, PhD, speaking at a podium

Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah is celebrating its 20th year since it opened its first building, and has never been in better shape, according to CEO Mary Beckerle, PhD. Beckerle recently delivered her annual State of HCI address to faculty, physicians, staff, and students. “I think we’re in the strongest position in our history, with an incredible mandate and potential for even greater impact,” Beckerle told her audience. She discussed HCI’s past, present, and future, emphasizing the organization’s main goal of eradicating cancer from the face of the earth.

Beckerle heard from audience members who volunteered examples of staff exhibiting HCI’s guiding principles: the patient first, united effort, and excellence in all we do. A Cancer Learning Center staff member shared the gratitude from the public for HCI’s generosity in providing free resources to patients who wish to learn about cancer. Beckerle complimented HCI researchers for their remarkable success in securing grant funding. “It’s incredible, and it really speaks to the power of our culture and the meaning of what we’re trying to do here together.” 

Beckerle noted that HCI patients in the Mountain West receive the very best cancer treatments science and technology have to offer. HCI is now the only adult hospital in the region offering CAR T cell therapy, and construction is well under way for the region’s first proton therapy center. She also pointed out that HCI physicians are now using telemedicine to have check-ups with bone marrow transplant patients who live far from Salt Lake City. The vision of Huntsman at Home is also now a reality, with the program bringing HCI-level care to patients in the comfort of their homes.

Beckerle enthusiastically talked about HCI’s next major expansion, which breaks ground September 5, 2019. Named the Kathryn F. Kirk Center for Comprehensive Cancer Care and Women’s Cancers at HCI, the 200,000-square-foot addition to the north side of the HCI campus will be eight stories tall and include 48 new hospital beds, additional clinical space, and an expanded wellness and integrative health center. The new facility is anticipated to open to patients in 2022.

Beckerle also discussed the renewal of HCI’s Comprehensive Cancer Center status and commented that a competing application was submitted in late May to the National Cancer Institute. HCI leadership, faculty, and staff are now preparing for the October 2019 site visit, which will include external experts across multiple cancer disciplines.

Beckerle concluded her address with a well-known quote from HCI founder Jon Huntsman Sr.: “Cancer moves fast, and we need to move faster.” She continued, “We can serve this great cause together and really make a difference for our patients. No one can do this alone—not even a small group of people. It takes a whole community to join in and work together.”

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