Peter WT Pisters, M.D., begins tenure as president of MD Anderson

Renowned cancer surgeon, researcher, professor and administrator returns to lead institution

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center today welcomes Peter WT Pisters, M.D., as its fifth full-time president in the institution’s 76-year history. Officially named president in September after being unanimously selected as the sole finalist by the UT System Board of Regents, Pisters previously served MD Anderson in faculty and leadership roles for more than 20 years. Most recently, he was president and chief executive officer of the University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto, Canada.

“I am beyond thrilled to return to MD Anderson to serve as its new president, which is an honor of a lifetime,” said Pisters. “Driven by recent achievements, great optimism and a renewed spirit of unity, I’m confident we will continue building upon our successes in cancer treatment, research, education and prevention while also forging a new path forward in the fight to end cancer.”

Pisters oversaw more than 14,000 employees and a $400 million research enterprise at UHN, Canada’s largest hospital-based research program, beginning in January 2015. Prior to his appointment at UHN, he was vice president for MD Anderson’s regional care system, comprising multiple Houston-area locations.

Pisters initially joined MD Anderson’s faculty in 1994 as assistant professor of Surgery, rising to full professor with tenure in 2004. His specialties are sarcoma and gastrointestinal cancer, and he remains a board-certified surgeon. He also holds a master’s degree in health care management from Harvard University.

“Dr. Pisters has devoted most of his professional life to the care of patients at MD Anderson, and he gained invaluable experience in Toronto leading one of the most respected academic health centers in North America,” said Ray Greenberg, M.D. Ph.D., executive vice chancellor for health affairs, UT System. “This combination of his clinical expertise, institutional knowledge, and servant leadership make Dr. Pisters the ideal person to take MD Anderson to the next level.”

During the transition to new leadership, Marshall E. Hicks, M.D., served as president ad interim. In those eight months, MD Anderson strengthened its finances, further developed the institution’s team-based culture and successfully cared for patients and employees during Hurricane Harvey.