Gov. Rick Scott Visits Sylvester Cancer Center

Florida Governor Rick Scott took a whirlwind tour of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center while in Miami last week, stopping to shake hands with many surprised patients and employees before meeting with center Director Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., UM President Donna E. Shalala and Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., to stress his commitment to improving cancer care in the state.

“We were thrilled to have him visit the cancer center and delighted in his interest in cancer,” Nimer said. “He commended us on the progress we have been making and stressed the importance of improving cancer care throughout the state of Florida as one of his primary objectives. We are very pleased by the commonality of interests and dedication to the mission.”

Nimer, who assumed the helm of the cancer center ten months ago, used his first meeting with the governor, himself a former health care executive, to share his vision for Sylvester and strategic plan for transforming the center, which already draws patients from Latin America and the Caribbean, into a world cancer destination.

Among Nimer’s top goals for Sylvester is earning the National Cancer Institute’s designation as a comprehensive cancer center. In the meeting with the governor, also attended by State Rep. Erik Fresen, of Miami-Dade, chairman of the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee, and Krishna Komanduri, M.D., Director of Sylvester’s Adult Stem Cell Transplant Program, Nimer discussed the center’s expanding programs, the specialists he’s recruited to the center, and those he’s hoping to bring in the future, all enabled with state funding.

“State funding for cancer is critical to support the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center on its way to becoming not only the dominant cancer center in Florida, but also in the United States,” said Dean Goldschmidt, who is also Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and CEO of UHealth. “Such funding provides the essential resources needed to optimize care for our patients, advance our groundbreaking biomedical research, and educate the next generation of cancer experts for the 21st century. Governor Scott was utmost impressed with his visit and emphasized the extraordinary quality of our physicians, nurses, researchers and trainees at Sylvester.”

In recent years, the Legislature and the governor have allocated $7.5 million to Sylvester.

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