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Addressing Cancer Needs throughout the Mountain West

Neli Ulrich, PhD, MS

Neli Ulrich, PhD, MS

The year 2021 was a time of successes, innovations, and advances at Huntsman Cancer Institute—even as a worldwide pandemic impacted our patients, our team members, our personal and professional lives, and every aspect of our operations. We can celebrate numerous milestones thanks to our research and administrative teams. Here are a few highlights:

  • The highest number of research grants ever submitted
  • The highest grant funding ever received, totaling nearly $100 million
  • More than 20,000 patients participating in our Total Cancer Care Study
  • More patients than ever before on lifesaving clinical trials

The Huntsman Cancer Institute community pulled together in new and creative ways to support each other, interact, and celebrate. We used our beautiful outdoor spaces for the HCI Connects event to bring colleagues together. We launched into Work Reimagined, with committee members from across our organization helping identify new paths forward. I am deeply grateful for each and every one of you for taking the year in stride!

In 2021, Huntsman Cancer Institute also took on a new, ambitious, and truly visionary goal: extending our National Cancer Institute (NCI) catchment area from the state of Utah to the five-state Mountain West, which includes Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Nevada. After serving this vast region for many years, we formalized our commitment to purposefully and meaningfully address cancer-related needs for this section of the country—17% of the continental U.S. landmass, a larger geographic region served than any other cancer center in the country.

As the only NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in this region, we feel a deep responsibility to serve our communities near and far. Although each of the five states is unique, we also have many characteristics in common—large rural and frontier areas, some of the most spectacular outdoor spaces in the world, and a willingness to work together to help our neighbors.

We will achieve our goal over the coming years by bringing clinical services, research, education, and outreach activities to all residents of the region. There are numerous dedicated groups working already on this ambitious goal, including the Committee on Community Engagement, the Center for Health Outcomes and Population Equity (HOPE), and many more. Huntsman Cancer Institute has exceptional talent and a multitude of growing partnerships across the Mountain West to make this happen, including our dedicated Community Advisory Board members and affiliate hospitals.

We are thrilled to work with all of you at Huntsman Cancer Institute in broadening our impact and working toward a future free from cancer.

Twitter: @NeliMUlrich