After nearly a decade as head of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University and the Ireland Cancer Center at University Hospitals of Cleveland, James Willson, M.D., is leaving for a key position at a well-regarded institution in Texas.
Dr. Willson has accepted a job in Dallas as director of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center's Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. He said he was contacted about the position last spring and submitted his letter of resignation last Monday, Aug. 9. He will start his new job next month.
University of Texas Southwestern is part of the University of Texas System, which has a strong cancer program at various branch campuses in major Texas cities. In this year's much-watched hospital rankings by U.S. News and World Report, the University of Texas cancer center in Houston ranked No. 1 in the nation in cancer research and treatment. University Hospitals ranked No. 17 in the nation and No. 1 in Ohio for its cancer program.
The cancer centers at University of Texas Southwestern and Case are similar, said Dr. Willson, who would not give specific reasons why he was leaving other than that he was excited by the position in Texas.
"This was an opportunity presented to me sometime ago that really excited me," Dr. Willson said. "It was not an easy decision at all. I've enjoyed such tremendous support from the faculty and staff at (University Hospitals) and Case."
As director of the Case and UH cancer programs, Dr. Willson oversaw 280 scientists and physicians. He also spent 18 years as a professor of oncology and a doctor at the two institutions. The Ireland Cancer Center, which deals with patient care and human clinical trials, is under the umbrella of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, which oversees all cancer research at Case and UH. The director position is the link between the Case and UH cancer programs and cannot be separate positions.