Welela Tereffe, M.D., named Chief Medical Executive

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center today named Welela Tereffe, M.D., as chief medical executive (CME). Recognized as a patient-centered and institutionally minded leader, Tereffe assumes this new position and joins the institution’s Executive Leadership Team (ELT) on Jan. 1, 2021.

In the role of CME, Tereffe will engage physicians and advanced practice providers in the delivery of outstanding research-driven clinical care that includes the Texas Medical Center campus, community and academic settings in Texas and MD Anderson Cancer Network®. She will work closely with leadership to recruit outstanding faculty, to promote research excellence and to enhance the wellness and development of providers.

“Welela is a servant leader with strong emotional intelligence and drive. She has intimate knowledge of medical practice, extensive understanding of academic health care, and is known for partnering and engaging others,” said Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “Her commitment to MD Anderson, to our providers and – most importantly – to our patients is undeniable. She is passionate about improving equity in access to safe, quality care, and to reducing disparities in cancer care and outcomes. We welcome her to our Executive Leadership Team.”

Tereffe currently serves as the institution’s chief medical officer, a position she has held for two years. She has led the institution through times of transformative change, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and collaborated with care providers to foster innovation and drive cultural excellence. Tereffe has promoted the importance of high reliability and the need to be patient centric, mission-driven and fiscally responsible. Throughout everything, her communication efforts have helped unite, inform and engage MD Anderson’s workforce.

“I am honored to serve our patients and MD Anderson as we collectively work to advance our mission to eradicate cancer through prevention, treatment, research and education,” said Tereffe. “We have a tremendous opportunity to collaborate with colleagues in Texas and around the globe to make the greatest possible impact, and I look forward to enabling our talented faculty and staff in these efforts.”

Tereffe earned her Bachelor of Arts in Education from Brown University and her M.D. from New York University. Since joining MD Anderson in 2005, Tereffe has earned a Master of Public Health in 2009, and currently she is working toward a Master of Health Care Management at the Harvard School of Public Health.