Three City of Hope physicians named Dr. Norman & Melinda Payson Professors

July 19, 2018
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Letisia Marquez
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The professorships recognize clinicians and researchers who have contributed greatly to biomedical research
 
DUARTE, Calif. — Three City of Hope physicians and scientists have been named to the Dr. Norman and Melinda Payson Professorships in their respective specialties. These endowed professorships recognize talented clinicians and researchers who have made significant contributions to biomedical research and the lives of patients.
 
Vijay Trisal, M.D., chief medical officer, is the holder of the Dr. Norman & Melinda Payson Professorship in Medicine. John Wing-Chung Chan, M.D., holds the professorship title in hematologic cancers, and Jeffrey N. Weitzel, M.D., holds the professorship in medical oncology.
 
“City of Hope is extremely grateful for the Paysons’ support of our vision to bring tomorrow’s cancer and diabetes discoveries to the people who need them today,” said Robert W. Stone, City of Hope president and chief executive officer. “Their commitment inspires us and their generosity propels us forward.”
 
Norman Payson, M.D., served on City of Hope’s board of directors beginning in 2004 and served as chair from 2014 to 2016. He currently sits on the board as past immediate chair. A highly respected physician and health care leader, Payson has more than 30 years of experience building and directing health care companies during times of growth and change.  Payson is a former chief executive officer of Oxford Health Plans Inc., and Healthsource Inc. and was chairman and chief executive officer of Apria Healthcare Group Inc. until 2012.
 
In addition to the three professorships, the Paysons have named the Graduate Studies Center at City of Hope and endowed a graduate student fellowship.
 
Vijay Trisal, M.D., Dr. Norman & Melinda Payson Professorship in Medicine
As City of Hope’s chief medical officer, Trisal oversees organization-wide efforts focused on maintaining the institution’s superb quality of care and excellent patient experience. He led efforts to grow City of Hope’s community practice sites and establish the institution’s electronic health records system. A highly skilled surgical oncologist who draws rave reviews from his patients, Trisal also served as a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network committee and helped formulate guidelines for the treatment of melanoma both nationally and internationally. 
 
Trisal’s research focuses on the study of novel genes that may help in melanoma’s early detection and treatment and the use of isolated limb infusion delivering high-dose chemotherapy to treat locally recurrent disease. Educated in India, Trisal served six years at Providence Hospital and Medical Centers in Southfield, Michigan, before joining City of Hope in 2002 as a fellow in surgical oncology.
 
John Wing-Chung Chan, M.D., Dr. Norman & Melinda Payson Professorship in Hematologic Cancers
Chan, co-leader of the Hematologic Malignancies Program in City of Hope’s comprehensive cancer center, is an internationally respected molecular pathologist, who has made numerous significant contributions to the field of pathology and malignant hematology. He is widely published, with more than 300 papers in peer-reviewed literature, over 200 abstracts and 22 chapters in various textbooks. Chan was an associate editor of the American Journal of Pathology and subsequently served on its editorial board. 
 
Chan has received numerous research grants for his work, including multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health/National Cancer Institute to explore the molecular classification of lymphoma and to construct molecular signatures to improve diagnosis and outcome prediction in lymphoma. He has been invited to speak at more than 100 national and international conferences, has served on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Lymphoma Research Foundation and has been a fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science since 2004.
 
Jeffrey N. Weitzel, M.D., Dr. Norman & Melinda Payson Professorship in Medical Oncology
As a leading genetics researcher, Weitzel, director of the Division of Clinical Cancer Genomics in City of Hope’s Department of Population Sciences and a professor of medical oncology and therapeutics research, has devoted his career to helping people and populations at increased risk for developing cancer because of family history or personal risk factors.
 
He led a groundbreaking study that revealed that BRCA mutations are frequent in young Hispanic women with breast cancer, leading to calls for increased genetic testing and counseling. Weitzel is at the forefront of developing low-cost genetic screening materials as well as training doctors and nurses for taking care of high-risk populations in Puerto Rico, Peru, Colombia and Mexico.
 
A vital member of the City of Hope team since 1996, Weitzel's expertise spans multiple disciplines. His clinical, research and training programs range from cancer risk assessment to targeted therapy, and clinical and psychosocial outcomes to “chemoprevention,” or the use of drugs to lower the risk of developing cancer.
 
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About City of Hope
City of Hope is an independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Designated as one of only 49 comprehensive cancer centers, the highest recognition bestowed by the National Cancer Institute, City of Hope is also a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, with research and treatment protocols that advance care throughout the world. City of Hope is located in Duarte, California, just northeast of Los Angeles, with locations throughout Southern California. It is ranked as one of "America's Best Hospitals" in cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a pioneer in the fields of bone marrow transplantation, diabetes and numerous breakthrough cancer drugs based on technology developed at the institution.

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