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Baptist lung doctors and research drawing global attention

Under the direction of Dr. Raymond Osarogiagbon, the Baptist Multidisciplinary Thoracic Oncology program and the Thoracic Oncology Research Group have quietly garnered national and international recognition for innovation in lung cancer care, research models, and population-based improvement in lung cancer survival.

Curious about the high cancer occurrence and death rates in the Mid-South, Dr. Osarogiagbon came to Memphis in 2005. His interest settled on lung cancer. Since then, he has been set on a course to change outcomes. His pivotal work revolves around improving the likelihood that patients survive lung cancer by improving access to high-quality surgery and post-surgical treatment.

He invented a unique lymph node specimen collection kit that helps surgeons do a better operation and helps pathologists more thoroughly examine surgical specimens. With funding support from the National Cancer Institute, his research team has been disseminating use of this kit for lung cancer surgery across all the hospitals in the Mid-South. Other highlights from past and ongoing work include:

  • In early July, Dr. Osarogiagbon will present at the two-day Druckenmiller Seminar at Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center.
  • His research was highlighted in two major papers his research team published in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, August 2016, which were accompanied by a high-profile editorial.
  • Osarogiagbon’s team with the Baptist Cancer Center holds three multi-million dollar research grants from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and the National Institute of Health (R01 grant). The PCORI grant, which studies the impact of a multidisciplinary clinic environment on lung cancer patient outcomes, has generated interest from and collaboration with several high-level research and patient advocacy organizations across the country, including the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (BJALCF), the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC).
  • In December 2016, Baptist’s Thoracic Oncology Research Group presented 11 abstracts at the 17thWorld Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) in Vienna, Austria. Dr. Osarogiagbon presented on the impact of the thoracic oncology program and the Center of Excellence model of care, participating in a worldwide press conference highlighting the impact of this community-based lung cancer quality improvement program.
  • Through a regional symposium held in April 2017, Dr. Osarogiagbon is building regional collaboration across organizational lines, involving 14 hospitals from seven health care systems, in Eastern Arkansas, Western Tennessee and Northern Mississippi, including five Baptist facilities, three Methodist facilities, St. Francis in Memphis, St. Bernard’s in Arkansas and North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo.
  • Thanks to the Baptist Memorial Health Care Foundation’s $1 million grant, Dr. Osarogiagbon and his team, including Dr. Todd Robbins, Dr. Jeffrey Wright, Dr. Keith Tonkin, Dr. Rob Optican, Dr. David Spencer and Dr. Ajay Wagh, are now moving into new territory. The team has established a comprehensive Multidisciplinary Lung Nodule Management program, led by Dr. Robbins, a thoracic surgeon, and Dr. Wright, a pulmonologist, to closely follow patients with potentially cancerous lung nodules found on CT scans done for other reasons. This program is expected to raise the odds of patients surviving lung cancer across our various communities.
  • In late 2016, Dr. Osarogiagbon was named the Lead Research Consultant for a national project by the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) to improve access to high-quality lung cancer care for patients enrolled in the Medicaid program.
  • Dr. Osarogiagbon and his Baptist Cancer Center team are writing a chapter titled “Achieving Better Quality Lung Cancer Care” for a book, “Lung Cancer: A Practical Approach to Evidence-Based Clinical Evaluation and Management” to be published by Elsevier in 2017, and edited by Drs. Lynn Tanoue, Chief Section of Pulmonary Medicine, and Frank Detterbeck, Chief of Thoracic Surgery, at Yale University.
  • Dr. Osarogiagbon serves on the board of the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation’s Center of Excellence program, as well as the External Advisory Board of the LUNGevity Foundation’s Patient-Focused Research Center (Patient FoRCe).
  • Dr. Osarogiagbon also serves on the Workforce Advisory Group. In addition, he was recently appointed to lead the National Cancer Institute’s Community Oncology Research Program’s Cancer Screening/Prevention Research Interest Group.
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