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Conquest - Summer 2009

A Team Armed and Ready 
to Answer

By David Berkowitz

Tucked away on the fifth floor of an office building a few blocks from
M. D. Anderson’s main campus is the “front door” to the institution for many new patients.

Armed with telephones, computer databases and a wealth of knowledge about cancer and services available at M. D. Anderson are health information specialists who make up the askMDAnderson team.

Since it was established in 1995, askMDAnderson has handled more than 736,000 phone calls and e-mails that help prospective patients:

  • Learn how to make an appointment
  • Understand treatment options
  • Learn about research studies
  • Navigate M. D. Anderson’s Internet site
  • Learn about and use patient amenities, such as travel and support resources
  • Access prevention and screening services
  • Find accurate cancer information
  • Locate community cancer resources

“We’re the first point of contact for people who have any type of question about
M. D. Anderson,” says Jennifer Kennedy-Stovall, associate director in the Public Education Office and head of the askMDAnderson service.

There are three main ways for someone to begin the appointment process:

Based on the person’s cancer type, stage and treatment history, all calls and e-mails to askMDAnderson about becoming a patient are sent to a Patient Access Services representative in the appropriate disease site center. Center staff then help with medical and financial clearance details needed for someone to schedule an appointment.

In Fiscal Year 2008, nearly 27,000 new patient appointments were initiated by phone or online. Through the first six months of Fiscal Year 2009, 17,000 phone and online inquiries turned into new patient appointments.

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center