Markey Cancer Center undergoes changes over summer



By Morgan Eads | News Editor

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The Markey Cancer Center underwent several changes over the summer, including a prestigious designation and the naming of Stephanie Herron as the new CEO of the foundation that funds the center.

In July, the cancer center received the designation of National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The institute requires cancer centers to have rigorous research and care practices, according to the NCI’s website.

Meticulous evaluation is conducted before a center is designated an NCI.

Only 68 cancer centers in the country have this ranking, said Mark Evers, director of the Markey Cancer Center.

The new title is the result of hard work from doctors, researchers and administrators, Evers said.

“This is kind of like the Good Housekeeping seal of approval for us,” he said.

Evers hopes that this classification will help to draw respected researchers and professionals to the center.

It has already succeeded in drawing an esteemed group of researchers from the University of Louisville, Evers said.

The group is part of what Herron hopes will be a wave of new, accomplished researchers.

Being appointed as CEO of the Markey Cancer Foundation, which largely funds the center, is personal for Herron.

Both Herron’s brother and best friend died from cancer at a young age, she said.

Herron hopes to bring strategy to the task of fundraising and recruiting.

“My focus is going to be on broadening the base of support for the center,” Herron said.

It is not just the cancer center and its patients that benefit from the innovations and new designation.

Since Kentucky leads the nation in cancer mortality rates, it will benefit the state to have such a distinguished center available, Evers said.

“People don’t have to leave the state now to receive National Cancer Institute caliber care,” Evers said.

Bringing in highly accomplished researchers and patients from across the region will be a boost to the community’s economy, Evers said.

The center and foundation will not be satisfied with only the NCI classification, Evers said.

“We’re not going to rest on our laurels,” he said.

The overall goal, Herron said, is to improve the quality of cancer care and ultimately find a cure for the disease.