An Inspirational Welcome

Michael Caligiuri 4When new employees join The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James), a wealth of services are provided to help welcome and acclimate them to the team. But for many, the most personal and inspiring greeting comes directly from the CEO of The James and Director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Michael A. Caligiuri, MD.

Caligiuri attends the twice monthly orientation sessions when his schedule permits, making it a priority to personally meet new OSUCCC – James team members and to share what he feels are the key values for providing exceptional service for patients and families. To Caligiuri, that includes compassion, research, quality and efficiency.

Compassion, he notes, is critical at a time when many people are experiencing the most difficult health challenges of their lives. Patients have just heard those words—“You have cancer”—and all of a sudden their whole world is turned upside down. Caligiuri urges new staff members to simply say “hello” to those they pass in the hallway and stand next to on the elevators. “Talking or simply saying hello to a patient and their family members can bring great comfort.; The James is not about doom and gloom place, we are a place for help and hope. And if you ever see me walking down the hall not smiling or saying hello, you can go ahead and kick me in the rear,” he jokes.

Being an academic cancer center with a strong focus on research sets the OSUCCC – James apart. “If it wasn’t for research, cancer care would be stagnant,” Caligiuri tells new staff members. He uses examples from football and other relatable metaphors to explain the impact new treatments discovered at the OSUCCC – James have on various cancers. He often asks those in the room to raise their hands if they know someone who is in the hospital dying of AIDS. When no one raises their hand, he tells the group, “That’s what we’re going to do with cancer, keep people out of the hospital and living their life.”

Producing high-quality work in an efficient manner is also of great importance at the OSUCCC – James. “We’re such a large institution, so any time we can improve upon our processes and become more efficient, we’ll be better in the long run and more effective.” For example, says Caligiuri, having streamlined processes for submitting grant requests to the National Institutes of Health and other sponsors increases the institution’s chances of securing research funding—and moving closer toward finding a cure.

Time and again, says Andrew Wessels, administrative liaison to human resources, new staff members point to Caligiuri’s remarks as one of the most satisfying elements of orientation. “People say that having the CEO stop by to talk to the new employees is huge. They’ll say ‘I’ve worked for other organizations and may have never even seen the CEO.’ But having Dr. Caligiuri there says we’re all playing an important part in creating a cancer-free world.”


Michael A. Caligiuri, MD: 2016-2017 President-Elect of the American Association for Cancer Research

An Inspirational WelcomeThe members of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) have elected Michael Caligiuri, MD, as their president-elect for 2016-2017. He officially became president-elect at the AACR Annual Meeting in New Orleans this past April and will assume the presidency in April 2017 at the Annual Meeting. Caligiuri is director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and CEO of the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. He holds the John L. Marakas Nationwide Insurance Enterprise Foundation chair in cancer research and is a professor in The Ohio State University College of Medicine Departments of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics and Internal Medicine.

Caligiuri is a renowned physician-scientist, known for his work in immunology that is focused on human natural killer cells and their modulation for the treatment of leukemia, myeloma, and glioblastoma. Well over 1,500 cancer patients have been treated on clinical protocols that have emanated from the Caligiuri laboratory. He will work collaboratively with the AACR board of directors and the AACR membership, which includes more than 35,000 members in 104 countries, to further the association’s mission to prevent and cure cancer through research, education, communication, and collaboration.

“For nearly a century, AACR has been an unwavering catalyst for advancing cancer research in meaningful ways: fostering collaboration among scientists and physicians, accelerating the dissemination of cancer discoveries and supporting the education and training of young cancer researchers. I am humbled and tremendously honored to be elected by my peers to serve as AACR president-elect,” says Caligiuri. “This is an especially exciting time as we all work to forge new and innovative models of collaboration between academia, industry, the government and the community – something I am certain AACR can play a pivotal role in facilitating.”

“We are delighted that Dr. Caligiuri has been elected to serve as the 2016-2017 AACR president-elect and our 2017-18 President,” said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the AACR. “He is a distinguished physician-scientist and highly esteemed leader, and his dedication to accelerating the pace of discovery and its translation to the clinic will be invaluable as he leads the association toward its goal of preventing and curing all cancers.”

Caligiuri has been actively involved with the AACR since 1990, serving as member and more recently chairperson of the Publications Committee since 1993 and a member of the Clinical and Translational Cancer Research Committee. He was elected by the membership to the AACR board of directors (2013-2016) and served as a member of the faculty for the Scientist–Survivor Program at the AACR Annual Meeting (2003-2009). He also served as a member of the faculty for the educational workshop, Methods in Clinical Cancer Research (2003-2007).

Additionally, he is president of the Society of Natural Immunity, chair of the Institute of Medicine’s National Cancer Policy Forum, and a member or chair of the external boards for 12 of the nation’s cancer centers. He is a past president of the Association for American Cancer Institutes, as well as a former councilor and executive committee member of the American Society of Hematology, past member of the board of scientific advisors and the board of scientific counselors of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and past vice chair of the scientific advisory board of the Cure for Lymphoma Foundation.

Caligiuri joined the faculty at Ohio State in 1997. He served on the faculty as a professor and medical oncologist specializing in hematologic malignancies at Roswell Park Cancer Institute from 1990-1997. He has been recognized with myriad honors and awards throughout his career, including the Director’s Service Award and the MERIT Award from the National Cancer Institute, the John Wayne Clinical Research Award from the Society of Surgical Oncologists, and the Emil J Freireich Award in Clinical Cancer Research from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American College of Physicians, and the Alpha Omega Honor Medical Society, as well as an elected member of the Association of American Physicians and the American Society for Clinical Investigation.

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