Message from the Chair

Lisa A. Kachnic
Lisa A. Kachnic, MD, FASTRO, Professor and Chair of Radiation Oncology

Welcome to the Department of Radiation Oncology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, a member of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC), an NCI designated facility. In our department, our mission is to provide compassionate state-of-the-art patient care, driven by a comprehensive translational and clinical research program, while training the next generation of radiation oncology leaders.

The outstanding faculty and staff of the Department of Radiation Oncology, combined with an extensive collection of advanced technology, gives patients access to nearly every treatment option available for their cancer. The broad range of radiation treatments available include intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), high-dose rate (HDR), and low-dose rate brachytherapy, intraoperative breast irradiation, total body irradiation, total skin electron irradiation, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), as well as single and fractionated radiosurgery at our nationally recognized Gamma Knife Center.

In our department, our patients have the advantage of a multidisciplinary team-approach. All of our physicians specialize in a particular disease site of radiation oncology, such as brain, head and neck, lung, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, breast, prostate cancers, and pediatric malignancies. This allows them to focus their patient care, research, and teachings in the area of which they are most knowledgeable. In partnership with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, ranked as the fourth top hospital in the United States, we work closely with internationally recognized researchers and clinicians of HICCC to bring together the best approaches for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of many types of cancer. Experts in surgery, hematology, medical oncology, neuro-oncology, urological oncology, radiation therapy, pathology, nursing, social work, and psychology strive to meet the needs of each individual patient to create a personalized treatment plan.

Columbia Radiation Oncology is particularly proud of its outstanding research program. In strong collaboration with physicians from HICCC, as well as with our own internationally recognized Center for Radiological Research (CRR), directed by leaders in our field including Dr. Eric Hall, we are committed to developing new biological and physical approaches for improving radiation therapy and bringing these advances to the clinic to benefit patients directly. In particular, we are dedicated to understanding the biology of cancer and to applying that knowledge to the design of cancer therapies and prevention strategies. We are working to reduce the incidence and progression of cancers and improve the quality of the lives of those affected by cancer.

Our educational programs are also extensive and include clinical residencies in radiation and medical physics that attract the brightest and most qualified candidates. The four-year residency program in radiation oncology is one of the most competitive in the Northeast, allowing us to recruit outstanding candidates. Effective teaching of residents by our faculty is a priority and is emphasized as an important component of academic life. Research collaborations with members of the Department, the HICCC, and CRR are encouraged, as well as participation in the Holman Research Pathway of the American Board of Radiology, which allows residents a minimum of 18 months of research time during their clinical training.

I am proud to lead this exceptional department, and I look forward to our continued achievements in the years to come.

Lisa A. Kachnic, MD, FASTRO
Professor and Chair of Radiation Oncology