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Community Health partnership brings nation’s best oncology care to Hoosiers

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Community Health Network and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have come together in an exclusive partnership to create Community Health Network MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Community Health President and CEO Bryan Mills calls this deal a first-of-its-kind collaboration, and one of the most significant changes the organization has made. 

Mills believes creating the Community Health Network MD Anderson Cancer Center will give Hoosiers better access to the most advanced oncology treatments in the world.

“At MD Anderson…they are pioneers in cutting-edge technology and cutting-edge medical care,” Dr. Sumeet Bhatia, the center’s medical director, told News 8. “What we do know is that one of the problems here is delivering that care here locally. That’s what this partnership does. It brings the best care in the world to Indiana.”

The center will focus on research, innovative treatments, clinical trials, and potential new medicines.

The Community agreement expands a deal that’s been in place for several years, and will be MD Anderson’s first official partner in the Midwest.

Arete Tsoukalas has been getting treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia–a very aggressive form of blood cancer–since September.

“My doctor is in Houston, but because of the incredible partnership, I can be home and continue my treatment for longer periods of time,” Tsoukalas said. “I don’t have to keep going back and forth as often. I’m currently on medication that runs continuously for 28 days. I can now make the medication changes right here in Indianapolis, so I don’t have to fly to Houston every week to do that anymore.”

Tsoukalas says this allows her family to be with her at appointments and hospital treatments, which makes her feel less alone as she continues her treatment. 

Thursday’s announcement hits on one of three key initiatives for Community Health Network this year: fighting cancer. Community is also targeting infant mortality and equity in health care in 2022.