For over 35 years, Illinois CancerCare has been bringing hope home to thousands of people of central Illinois. Thanks to the pioneering vision and early leadership of Dr. Stephen A. Cullinan and Dr. James B. Gerstner, Illinois CancerCare, P.C. was among the first cancer treatment practices in the country to take the practice, physicians, and nurses to outlying communities to provide state-of-the-art cancer care to patients in their home communities. Drawing upon a history rich in quality patient care, groundbreaking research, and many important firsts, Illinois CancerCare continues to lead the way in improving the lives of people with cancer. Today, Illinois CancerCare, P.C. (formerly Oncology Hematology Associates) is an award-winning national leader in community cancer care. View our timeline below for more details on Illinois CancerCare!
2016 brought changes to the gynecologic oncologists at Illinois CancerCare when Dr. Ken Hodel retired from practice and Dr. Andras Ladanyi returned to the Chicago area with his family.
Illinois CancerCare’s new cancer center opened in Bloomington providing on-site laboratory, radiology and chemotherapy infusion services offering convenience for patients in one location. Dr. Srinivas Jujjavarapu returned to Illinois CancerCare and began seeing patients again. Dr. John McClean retired from oncology practice after decades of serving patients in the Galesburg area. Illinois CancerCare had its Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) Certification renewed for another three years. This quality care program is nationally recognized in oncology. Dr. Francois Geoffroy, already board certified in medical oncology, became a board certified neuro-oncologist, one of only 207 in the nation.
Illinois CancerCare expanded its Peoria facility with a 20,000 square foot addition. This expansion accommodated the growth of patient services including imaging, laboratory, and gynecological oncology care. The practice opened a new facility in Galesburg and broke ground on a new facility in Bloomington allowing for expanded patient services in those regions. The research program was awarded one of 37 NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) grants, sharing in over $12.5 million in clinical cancer research funding over a 5 year period. Dr. Jane Liu became the local principal investigator for Illinois CancerCare within the Heartland NCORP. Dr. Sachdev Thomas left Illinois CancerCare, moving his family to California. Dr. Andras Ladanyi joined the gynecologic oncologists seeing patients at Illinois CancerCare.
Illinois CancerCare, P.C. was presented with the prestigious 2013 Clinical Trials Participation Award by the Conquer Cancer Foundation of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) at their recent national meeting in Chicago. As ONE of only seven community oncology practices in the country to receive this recognition, and one of only a few to receive it twice, the award acknowledges Illinois CancerCare’s active participation in clinical studies which advance new treatments for cancer. Dr. Allen Vukov retired in May 2013. Dr. Gary MacVicar, board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology and hematology, joined the practice in October. Dr. John McClean’s oncology practice in Galesburg merged with Illinois CancerCare in September. Dr. McClean is board certified in internal medicine and medical oncology.
Illinois CancerCare was recognized by the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) Certification Program. The QOPI® Certification Program (QCP) provides a three-year certification for outpatient hematology-oncology practices that meet the highest national standards for quality cancer care. Illinois CancerCare’s Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP) is recognized as one of the nation’s top enrollers in cancer clinical trials in the newly formed Alliance of Clinical Trials in Oncology ranking 9th in treatment and cancer control trials that seek to prevent cancer or control its incidence. Doctors Jane Liu and Madhuri Bajaj joined the practice. Both Doctors Liu and Bajaj are board certified in internal medicine, medical oncology and hematology. Drs. John Kugler and S. Jujjavarapu both retired in this year.
Illinois CancerCare physicians began providing medical oncology/hematology services at Valley Regional Cancer Center to serve communities along the I-80 corridor. This comprehensive center offers laboratory services and medical imaging as well.
Three physicians from The University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria began seeing patients at Illinois CancerCare at the Peoria Cancer Center. Dr. Rebecca Byler Dann, Dr. Kenneth A. Hodel, and Dr. Salvatore J. LoCoco divide their time between Illinois CancerCare, where they see patients with gynecologist malignancies, and the Peoria hospitals, where they perform surgeries on their gynecologic cancer patients.
The Illinois CancerCare outreach clinic site in Peru grew to several different locations as the need for additional services in the region continued.
Dr. Gregory J. Gerstner, the son of Dr. James Gerstner, joined Illinois CancerCare with board certification in internal medicine, medical oncology, and hematology. Shawn M. Seibert, MD, board certified in internal medicine, joined the practice to serve as the hospitalist for the group seeing hospitalized Illinois CancerCare patients on weekends.
Illinois CancerCare, P.C. became the new name of the former Oncology Hematology Associates and another expansion occurred as the practice started seeing patients in Monmouth at OSF Holy Family Medical Center and the Fox River Cancer Center.
Dr. Patrick L. Gomez and Dr. Pankaj Kumar joined the group to establish a full time practice in the Bloomington clinics. Dr. Gomez is board certified in medical oncology; Dr. Kumar is board certified in both medical oncology and hematology.
Dr. Stephen Cullinan, whose vision of community outreach clinics brought cancer care and treatment close to home in communities throughout central Illinois, retired at the end of November, 2007. Dr. James Gerstner, his long-time partner in providing the latest in cancer therapies and clinical trial availability to local communities, retired in December of 2007.
Dr. Diane J. Prager joined Oncology Hematology Associates following more than 10 years in practice at UCLA. Although originally from South Africa, Dr. Prager also received her oncology training at UCLA.
The practice moved from the Methodist Atrium Building to its current location on Route 91 in northwest Peoria. The vision of a comprehensive cancer center in central Illinois became a reality. The Peoria Cancer Center housed not only the physicians and staff of Oncology Hematology Associates, but also an OSF outreach radiation facility, and an office for the Cancer Center for Healthy Living. Full lab services and a radiology facility were established within the Peoria Cancer Center.
Dr. Nguyet Le-Lindqwister joined Oncology Hematology Associates from a practice in Las Vegas after completing fellowships in medical oncology and hematology at UCLA. The first nurse practitioners joined the practice.
Dr. Sachdev Thomas joined the practice after completing his fellowship in oncology and hematology from Loyola University Medical Center.
Dr. Srinivas Jujjavarapu joined the practice after completing his fellowship training in oncology and hematology at Michigan State University and in bone marrow transplant at Loyola University Medical School.
Dr. Paul Fishkin and Dr. Francois Geoffroy joined the practice. Dr. Fishkin joined us after serving as a U.S. Army physician following his oncology and hematology fellowships at Letterman Army Medical Center in San Francisco. Dr. Geoffroy completed his medical oncology fellowship at the National Cancer Institute. Oncology Hematology Associates established a research affiliation with the University of Chicago for Phase II clinical cancer treatment trials.
Dr. James Knost joined Oncology Hematology Associates from a practice in Tennessee with prior experience at the National Cancer Institute following a medical oncology fellowship at Vanderbilt University. The practice opened a clinic in Kewanee.
The practice moved to a new location in the Methodist Atrium Building.
Dr. Allen Vukov further strengthened the Mayo tradition when he joined the practice after attending medical school at the University Of Illinois College Of Medicine at Peoria and receiving his hematology training at the Mayo Clinic.
The practice expanded clinic affiliations to Eureka.
Dr. Kugler came to the Oncology Hematology Associates practice from a physicians’ group in Montana following a medical oncology fellowship from the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics which included training in bone marrow transplant.
Oncology Hematology Associates joined forces with the Methodist Medical Center to become one of the first Community Clinical Oncology Programs (CCOP) in the nation. CCOP provided a way for the group to partner with academic investigators to accelerate the number of NCI clinical cancer prevention, control and treatment trials available in our local community clinics.
Dr. Michael Veeder joined the practice with a medical degree from Yale University Medical School followed by a medical oncology fellowship at Dana Farber Cancer Center, Harvard University. The group began clinics in Hopedale, Carthage and Canton.
Clinics were established in Spring Valley, Princeton, Ottawa, and Peru.
Dr. Rick Mundis joined the practice after receiving his Medical Oncology training at Mayo Graduate School of Medicine. The group began clinics in Galesburg and Macomb.
James B. Gerstner, another central Illinoisan and Mayo Clinic Fellow in hematology joined the practice. Until the late ’70s nearly all cancer research was being done by academic institutions at the major medical center universities. The first Peoria patient was entered into a cancer clinical trial here.
Dr. Cullinan was among the pioneers who established a unique research relationship with Mayo Clinic called the North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG). The Illinois Oncology Research Association (IORA) was established here and became one of the original NCCTG member institutions that viewed the community as the most appropriate venue to conduct clinical trials to test novel approaches to cancer prevention and treatment and to offer cutting-edge care to a broader spectrum of patients.
Dr. Stephen A. Cullinan completed his oncology fellowship at the Mayo Clinic and returned home to central Illinois to begin his medical practice, the Oncology Hematology Associates of Central Illinois located in Methodist Medical Center. Dr. Cullinan quickly instituted an outreach clinic concept initially seeing patients in Pekin, followed by Bloomington and Pontiac the next year.