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Moffitt joins elite group in cancer care

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 27, 2001

TAMPA -- The Moffitt Cancer Center today will celebrate its new designation as a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center, making it one of just 40 such facilities in the nation.

Moffitt became Florida's only NCI-designated cancer center in 1997. The new level of comprehensive cancer center recognizes the center's research and treatment programs as being among the best in the country. It also holds the promise of more federal and private research grants.

"There is no greater honor," said Moffitt director and chief executive officer John C. Ruckdeschel. "This elite designation underscores the tremendous work performed at Moffitt every day."

Moffitt is a state research center and hospital based at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Its physicians also serve on the USF faculty.

Moffitt gets $1.8-million from the NCI each year to help pay for basic services. Last year, it also won $27-million in research grants from the NCI, pharmaceutical companies, cancer groups and other sources.

To become an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center, Moffitt had to meet a variety of criteria regarding programs for cancer prevention; training for health care professionals; promising clinical trials; and a strong core of basic laboratory research.

Last week, Moffitt bought full-page advertisements in the state's major newspapers heralding the designation.

"We believe that we're the best, and this is where you should come," spokesman Matt Novak said. "It was a general awareness ad: Look what you have here."

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute

Patient admissions: 5,098 last year

Outpatient visits: 135,810

Medical staff: 280

Researchers and support staff: 565

Residents and fellows: 53

Annual budget: $160-million

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