Two people who shared the vision to build what is now Siteman Cancer Center have been recognized as citizens of the year.
Timothy J. Eberlein, MD, Siteman’s director, and Alvin J. Siteman, the benefactor for whom the center is named, were recognized by the after being selected by a committee of past recipients. The honor, typically given to one person, highlights the partnership the pair have developed since the cancer center’s naming in 1999.
“It has been a shared mission, a labor of love for our patients and our region,” said Eberlein, who also is the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor and Bixby Professor and chairman of the Department of Surgery at the School of Medicine. “This honor is a recognition of the tremendous work and dedication of the many people – our Washington University physicians and researchers, nurses, staff and others – who have helped make Siteman the top-tier cancer center it is today.”
In 1999, Alvin J. and Ruth Siteman committed $35 million to the development of Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. The commitment was the largest gift ever received by Barnes-Jewish and Washington University in support of cancer research, patient care and services, education and community outreach, and it built upon decades of research and therapeutic advances on the Washington University Medical Campus.
Since then, Siteman Cancer Center has grown to include five satellite locations, including two that recently moved into new facilities, on the campuses of Memorial Hospital East in Shiloh, Ill., and Northwest HealthCare, part of Christian Hospital, in Florissant, Mo. The other satellites are at Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital in St. Charles County, Mo.; Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital in Creve Coeur, Mo.; and the Center for Advanced Medicine-South County in south St. Louis County, Mo. An inpatient tower opened on the Washington University Medical Campus in 2018.
In 2015, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) awarded Siteman an “exceptional” rating, based on a rigorous review of the cancer center’s research programs. The rating is the highest possible by the NCI, the principal federal institute that funds cancer research.
Siteman’s reach has extended beyond the St. Louis region, as well. In 2017, the cancer center launched the Siteman Cancer Network, an affiliation with regional medical centers that is aimed at improving the health of individuals and communities through cancer research, treatment and prevention. Network affiliates are: Boone Hospital Center in Columbia, Mo.; Phelps Health and its Delbert Day Cancer Institute in Rolla, Mo.; and Alton Memorial Hospital in Alton, Ill.
“Tim has worked so hard to execute what Al has provided support for,” David H. Perlmutter, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and the George and Carol Bauer Dean of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, told the Post-Dispatch. “It’s the combination of philanthropy and generosity and execution of a plan, and it’s a great story for St. Louis.”