MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Cardio-Oncology Program at the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute has been named a Gold Center of Excellence – the highest possible designation – by the International Cardio-Oncology Society (IC-OS).
The IC-OS defines a Center of Excellence as “a Program within a healthcare institution that is assembled to supply an exceptionally high concentration of expertise and related resources centered on a particular area of medicine, delivering associated care in a comprehensive, interdisciplinary fashion to afford the best patient outcomes possible.”
International awards are presented at three levels – bronze, silver, and gold – and are determined by scoring in six categories: volume of new/established patients; research/publications; education; quality improvement; Cardio-Oncology Committee involvement; and program building. Gold status is awarded to institutions that score the required number of points and receive approval from the IC-OS Center of Excellence Committee.
“This designation recognizes the dedication of our team at WVU Medicine and the Heart and Vascular Institute to advancing specialized heart care for unique cancer patients at a nation-leading level,” Christopher Bianco, D.O., WVU Heart and Vascular Institute cardiologist and leader of the Cardio-Oncology Program, said.
In his letter informing the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute of its designation, Vijay Rao, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the IC-OS Center of Excellence Committee, wrote, “Your program has demonstrated outstanding contributions to our field, and we thank you for your commitment to excellence.”
Cardio-oncology is a medical subspecialty focused on the management of heart diseases in patients with cancer. At the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, cardiologists specially trained in cardio-oncology use the latest technology and research to prevent, detect, and treat heart disease in cancer patients before, during, and after treatment for cancer. The goal is to prevent heart damage caused by cancer treatments and manage care for patients who are fighting both cancer and heart disease. In addition to Dr. Bianco, the Cardio-Oncology Program includes WVU Heart and Vascular Institute cardiologists Brijesh Patel, D.O., and George Sokos, D.O., WVU Cancer Institute hematologist/oncologist Midhun Malla, M.D., and nurse specialists Kim Helmick, R.N., and Stephanie Stoffa, R.N.
“The WVU Heart and Vascular Institute remains focused on expanding access to national level advancement to all patients in West Virginia and our surrounding regions. The Cardio-Oncology Program is an example of how we bring highly specialized teams together, including our colleagues at the WVU Cancer Institute, to provide the most advanced care possible,” Vinay Badhwar, M.D., executive chair of the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, said.
“The WVU Cancer Institute is very proud to partner with the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute to provide a much-needed service to the cancer patients we're privileged to serve. This clinic is housed in the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center so as to best fit the needs of the patients in a familiar environment," Hannah Hazard-Jenkins, M.D., director of the WVU Cancer Institute, said. "Dr. Bianco and the Cardio-Oncology Program are a wonderful addition to the care provided at the WVU Cancer Institute.”
The IC-OS brings together cardio-oncologists from around the world with the aim of reducing cardiovascular disease in cancer patients and thereby saving patients’ lives. Its open access, online journal “Cardio-Oncology” provides a high visibility platform for the publication of original research and expert reviews on the cardiovascular effects of cancer treatment. The editorial mission of the journal is to advance the science and practice of this emerging field to find a balance between oncologic efficacy and reducing adverse cardiovascular effects through timely publication and dissemination of peer-reviewed research. For more information, visit IC-OS.org.
For more information on the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, visit WVUMedicine.org/Heart.