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Centers for Excellence

Overview of Program

In order to be recognized as a Center for Excellence by the Coalition, an organization must fulfill requirements set forth in a rigorous set of designation criteria. A COE must have a critical mass of cancer investigators, peer reviewed research programs, state-of-the-art research resources, scientific focus and accredited educational expertise. In addition to its commitment and ability to educate future and existing cancer caregivers, potential COEs must have the ability to translate research and medical advances into community intervention and practice. Its clinical care should be provided in a multidisciplinary model with a high degree of excellence. A COE also is expected to be a major statewide source of new strategies and initiatives in cancer control.

The first Center for Excellence designation was awarded to Grady Memorial Health System in Atlanta in 2002. Grady’s long history of caring for the medically underserved, particularly racial and ethnic minorities, and the collaboration between Grady Health System, Emory School of Medicine and Winship Cancer Institute, and Morehouse School of Medicine were key factors in the designation award. The Georgia Cancer Coalition provided $28 million to renovate two floors of Grady Hospital, establishing a state-of-the-art clinical environment dedicated to providing highly attentive care and customer service. For instance, an express elevator from the Grady lobby provides patients direct access to the cancer center. In addition, the Avon Foundation made a grant of $4.3 million for the Avon Foundation Breast Health Center housed within the Center for Excellence. Through its Distinguished Cancer Clinicians and Scientists program, the Coalition was instrumental in recruiting Dr. Otis Brawley from the National Cancer Institute to serve as the Director of the Georgia Cancer Center for Excellence at Grady. The Center was dedicated by Governor Sonny Perdue in March of 2003. The Georgia Cancer Center for Excellence at Grady recently earned designation as a National Center for Health Disparities Research by the National Institutes of Health.

The second COE designation was awarded to the Georgia Cancer Research Center. An unprecedented collaboration between the Medical College of Georgia and the University of Georgia, this Center unites the research, educational and clinical strengths of the two institutions in a strategic focus on cancer. Funding from the state includes $10 million for the new cancer research facility at the Medical College of Georgia and support for more than two dozen cancer researchers and Distinguished Cancer Clinicians and Scientists.

 

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