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City of Hope Orange County names chief physician; a lung cancer expert who can dance

In their search for the right person to head up their as-yet unopened Irvine cancer center, officials at City of Hope Orange County wanted someone with experience in community medicine, expertise in care and research, and a hunger for innovation.

They say they found all that and more in nationally recognized cancer researcher and oncologist Dr. Edward S. Kim, who today is being announced as physician-in-chief for the medical campus, which is part of a $1 billion investment by City of Hope in Orange County.

“He is so much the right person,” said Annette Walker, president of City of Hope Orange County.



Walker touted Kim’s abilities to head up a team of clinician-scientists that will push to develop new and effective cancer treatments that will be available close to home for patients of City of Hope Orange County. He also is being counted on to spearhead the mission of making the medical center’s services accessible around the county, to people who typically face barriers in receiving treatment.

“Screening is one of those things we want to bring out to the community,” Kim said. “Not only to treat those diagnosed with cancer, but also to find patients who are healthy but have high risk factors.”

Kim also hopes to broaden the base for clinical studies, reaching out to include under served and minority populations.

He’s a proponent of telehealth services and other ways to provide more convenient care. At-home visits could be part of the mix. Patient advocacy is also high on his list, which he said starts with finding out what patients need and want.

“We want to make sure our patients appreciate what’s being done, that they are knowledgeable about what we’re doing. The best way to do that is to ask them.”

Kim comes to Orange County from his most recent post at the Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina. There, he was medical director of clinical trials and headed up solid tumor oncology and investigational therapeutics. He also was a professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Before his job at Levine, Kim spent time in leadership positions at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, the largest cancer center in the United States.

Kim, who just turned 50, is married to a psychiatrist and they have a college-age daughter and a son who is a high school freshman. Kim is known for his involvement in community events, one of which recently had him flashing his dance moves. More on that later.

The comprehensive cancer campus that Kim will oversee will feature the only specialty hospital in Orange County to exclusively focus on treatment and cure of cancer. It includes an outpatient center and a research department that will provide access to about 500 clinical trials.

The cancer care center is expected to open in summer 2022, Walker said. Disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic have slightly delayed the timeline of the campus, located next to the Great Park in Irvine. There is no date yet for when the main hospital will begin construction, but Walker said the design is in its final stages.

City of Hope is one of 49 U.S. comprehensive cancer care centers as designated by the National Cancer Institute. The Duarte-based medical enterprise has centers in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, and earlier this year it opened a 12,500-square-foot standalone cancer center in Newport Beach, an effort to speed up the delivery of care to patients who would spend hours on the road traveling  to City of Hope in Los Angeles County.

Oh, about Kim’s skills as a hoofer: Back in 2017, he competed in a contest, a la “Dancing With the Stars,” that paired participants with members of the Charlotte Ballet. He also did a routine with his son. He won, and raised the second-most money, earmarked for Levine Cancer Institute.

Kim, laughing, says he’s open to a repeat performance here in Orange County.

“If they need me to dance in front of a bunch of people to raise money for one of our research programs, that’s what I’ll do.”

Take a look at his moves.

Source: Orange County Register

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