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Dr. Rodney Rocconi, chief of Gynecologic Oncology Service at the USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, works with Dr. Luciana Madeira da Silva Barnes, Ph.D. research assistant professor, in the research wing at the institute, headquartered in Mobile, Ala.
Dr. Rodney P. Rocconi has been appointed professor of Interdisciplinary Clinical Oncology and chief of Gynecologic Oncology Service at the University of South Alabama Mitchell Cancer Institute.
Rocconi has demonstrated proven success and strong leadership skills, said MCI Director Dr. Michael Finan, in announcing the promotions. “He has stepped up to the plate time after time by taking a leadership role whenever the need arises,” he said.
Finan pointed to Rocconi’s success with MCI’s clinical trials program. When Rocconi became associate director of clinical trials in 2011, MCI was involved in more than 40 clinical trials with 25 patients involved. Now, the institute participates in fewer trials but has more than 400 patients involved, including many minority patients.
Rocconi, who serves as associate director for clinical research, specializes in the management of cancers of the ovary, uterus, cervix and lower genital tract. He has written or co-written more than 70 articles for peer-reviewed journals and presented research findings at scientific meetings in the U.S. and abroad. He is also co-inventor on six patent filings and principal or co-principal investigator for several grants that support his research.
Rocconi said he is honored by the appointment and promotion, and pleased to be leading such a capable team. “Our primary goal is exceptional patient care and to be a service to our referring physicians,” he said.
“Beyond clinical care, we need to expand our role both in translational research and clinical research,” Rocconi said. “We hope to truly offer a bench-to-bedside approach where our discoveries in the lab can continue to impact our patients and women who are afflicted with gynecological cancers in years to come.”
Rocconi, who joined MCI as a physician-scientist in 2007, was the first MCI Abraham A. Mitchell Cancer Research Scholar. He is the recipient of the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation Ovarian Cancer Research Award and the Gynecologic Oncology Young Investigator Research Award. He serves as a scientific expert reviewer for the U.S. Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program.
“Our emphasis is on patient care,” Rocconi said, “but I do love research. Research gives me the opportunity, with hard work and good luck, to be able to impact substantially more patients. The greater the discovery, the greater the number of women you can help, and that’s exciting, too.”
In particular, Rocconi said he appreciates the opportunity to care for many minority patients. “Cancer rates and cancer mortality are higher in minority patients,” he said, “and part of my goal is to continue to work hard to try to discover why. If we can identify the why, we can overcome that disparity in health care for our minority patients.”
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