Cancer Center Gets New Leadership

Meet Dr. Taofeek Owonikoko

Dr. Taofeek K. OwonikokoLeading thoracic oncologist, Taofeek Owonikoko, MD, finds stepping into the role of executive director for the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC) both exciting and somewhat daunting as he looks forward to the cancer center’s next chapter under his leadership.

“The outstanding clinical expertise, the depth of basic research, and the fundamental discoveries coming out of our laboratories provide key ingredients for future successes,” Dr. Owonikoko said. “Together, we can transform UMGCCC into a nationally revered cancer center.”

UMGCCC brings forward basic discoveries from its labs into its clinics and eventually into communities. Caring for a diverse patient population positions the center to drive policy changes in cancer care delivery in underserved communities nationwide and even beyond the shores of our country to make a global impact, he explained.

Dr. Owonikoko plans to use his various roles across the University of Maryland system to further collaborative opportunities that foster team science across the School of Medicine with basic science and clinical departments; the Institutes of Human Virology, Health Computing and Genome Sciences; and between UMGCCC, the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and the larger University System of Maryland as well as outside institutions.

“As a diverse community of faculty, staff, and philanthropists, we can thoughtfully and effectively harness our collective brilliance and dedication for the greater good,” Dr. Owonikoko continued. “Ultimately, the raison d'être of our cancer center is to improve the human condition with a focus on patients diagnosed with or at-risk of developing cancer. We will continue to explore bold new approaches and create partnerships with industry, private foundations, and community-based organizations, locally and globally to achieve this goal.”

At UMGCCC, faculty and staff strive to bring attention and focus to some often neglected and unglamorous, but impactful challenges, in oncology. Dr. Owonikoko believes the cancer center can and should bend the curve on cancer screening and care for all Maryland residents. He also will initiate strategic expansion of the footprint of UMGCCC to other locations within the University of Maryland Medical System network. “We will pursue expanded expertise in the detection and interception of cancer at its earliest stages when it is eminently curable,” he said.

“In every action and effort, we will continue to be guided by our values of compassion, discovery, excellence, diversity, and integrity,” Dr. Owonikoko said. “Our vision must be to ensure that at UMGCCC the CCC does not just stand for a Comprehensive Cancer Center but also for Compassion for our patients and colleagues, exceptional Competence in research and clinical care and an unwavering dedication to the Community.”

In addition to serving as UMGCCC executive director, Dr. Owonikoko is the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Professor in Oncology in the Department of Medicine, executive director of the UMSOM Program in Oncology, chief of service at the University of Maryland Medical Center, senior associate dean for Cancer Programs at UMSOM, and associate vice president for Cancer Programs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).


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