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Annual Report - 2007-2008 - Outreach

Annual Report - Winter 2009

Momentum in the Greater Houston Area

Profile: Clinician Brings Excellence to Houston Communities
Profile: Therapist makes the most of a small window of opportunity
Satellites Reach Outlying Communities
Radiation Treatment Center Opens on Houston’s West Side

Clinician Brings Excellence to Houston Communities

By Julie Penne

Matthew Ballo, M.D.

Extending quality care into the community is a scenario Matthew Ballo clearly relishes.

In this role, he provides clinical excellence as medical director of Radiation Oncology Outreach and head of radiation oncology at the MD Anderson Clinical Care Center in the Bay Area (Nassau Bay, Texas). The extra benefit is spending more time with patients and broadening his practice.

A radiation oncologist who trained and practiced at the main campus since 2000, Ballo, M.D., recognized early on the opportunities of bringing care to the communities. When he opened the radiation oncology clinic at the Bay Area location in 2007, he joined with two faculty members from medical oncology, Amy Hassan, M.D., and Craig Kovitz, M.D., to launch MD Anderson’s first care center beyond the main campus.

The center, which is located on the campus of Christus St. John Hospital, has become an epicenter for enhancing oncology care throughout the booming region south of Houston.

“Since we opened, we’ve reached out to meet with general surgeons, community oncologists, pathologists and radiologists to host a weekly tumor board and offer multidisciplinary care,” Ballo says. “It’s been gratifying to share resources and learn from colleagues, but, ultimately, it is the residents of this community who benefit from a higher standard of care.”

It also is his role to lead multiple quality assurance programs for each of MD Anderson’s six satellite centers. Every Friday, he and the radiation oncologists from the Houston area and Albuquerque facilities gather
for a conference call to review new patient cases, discuss protocols and compare notes on treatment guidelines, all to enhance patient safety and quality of care.

“Seeing patients, building a practice and heading up the programs that will ensure excellence wherever MD Anderson establishes a satellite is incredibly fulfilling, stimulating and vital work,” he says. “I’m going in new directions that I never expected, but I remain anchored to the institution’s mission and patient focus.”

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Therapist Makes the Most of a Small Window of Opportunity

By Julie Penne

Kameka Rideaux

For Kameka Rideaux, a radiation therapist at the Bellaire Radiation Treatment Center in the greater Houston area, a top priority is helping her patients regain control and power in their lives.

While this may be a hope of many radiation therapists in the other satellites or on the main campus, she only has five days to accomplish the goal with some of her patients while her colleagues may have several weeks.
Rideaux, a radiation therapist for seven years, cares for women who receive partial-breast irradiation, a new, emerging treatment option for breast cancer patients who undergo lumpectomy.

The Bellaire Radiation Treatment Center is the only MD Anderson location to offer the new technique. Using MammoSite® technology, the option is being studied to determine if it is an effective alternative to the current standard of care, which involves removal of the tumor and surrounding tissue followed by four to six weeks of daily external beam radiation.

Because she sees her partial-breast irradiation patients for only a week, Rideaux works hard to give them the comfort and assurance they need and keep them infection-free so they can continue their abbreviated course of treatment and move on with their lives. But like other breast cancer patients or patients with other diagnoses who receive an extended radiation treatment schedule, partial-breast irradiation patients have just as many concerns, questions and fears.

“So many patients who come to the Bellaire Radiation Treatment Center are surprised at the level of care they receive, but I’m not suprised at all,” Rideaux says. “It’s our job to provide outstanding treatment and listen to the needs expressed by our patients. Because we are in the community setting, we have the opportunity to slow down a bit and tune into their questions. We are this neighborhood’s link to MD Anderson.”

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Satellites Reach Outlying Communities

Designed to extend MD Anderson’s expertise, services and mission from the flagship in the Texas Medical Center to growing communities and neighborhoods, the arc of outreach has come nearly full circle around the metropolitan Houston area — and beyond. With additional satellites planned, MD Anderson currently has radiation treatment centers in Bellaire, Bay Area (Nassau Bay), Katy, Fort Bend (Richmond) and The Woodlands in Texas, and in Albuquerque, N.M. The facility in Nassau Bay provides not only radiation treatment, but also medical oncology, laboratory and chemotherapy infusion services, as well as a blood donation center and pharmacy. As at the main campus, each patient treated at a satellite has the benefit of multidisciplinary care and MD Anderson expertise.

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Radiation Treatment Center Opens on Houston’s West Side

When MD Anderson opened a radiation treatment center in Katy in the fall of 2007, it was the fifth satellite center to open in the Houston area and the sixth in the Southwest. In collaboration with Christus St. Catherine Hospital, the center is led by Gregory Chronowski, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology. A specialist in treating cancers of the head and neck, Chronowski and his team also care for patients diagnosed with a range of cancers. This is the second collaboration MD Anderson has formed with a Christus hospital in the Houston area. The other is located on the campus of Christus St. John Hospital in Nassau Bay.

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© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center