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UF Health Cancer Center announces executive leadership appointments

Thomas George, M.D., FACP, left, and Paul Crispen, M.D.

Thomas George, M.D., FACP, left, and Paul Crispen, M.D.

The University of Florida Health Cancer Center has appointed two accomplished oncologists to key executive leadership roles, positioning the center to reach even greater heights in cancer research and care after achieving designation from the National Cancer Institute, or NCI, in June.

Thomas George, M.D., FACP, a distinguished clinician and clinical investigator who has been the Cancer Center’s associate director for clinical research since 2016, has been named deputy director. George, a professor in the division of hematology and oncology in the UF College of Medicine who specializes in gastrointestinal cancers and early-phase cancer drug development, assumes the position after John R. Wingard, M.D., retired in July.

Paul Crispen, M.D., a urologic oncologist, has been named associate director for clinical research. Crispen, a professor in the department of urology, has extensive experience with clinical trials. From 2017 to 2022, he chaired the Cancer Center’s Scientific Review and Monitoring Committee, which provides critical peer review of cancer-relevant studies at UF.

“I am thrilled that Dr. George and Dr. Crispen are taking on these essential leadership roles at this exciting time as we continue the development of our newly NCI-designated cancer center,” said Jonathan D. Licht, M.D., director of the UF Health Cancer Center.

In his new role, George will serve as the center’s second-in-command and ensure the center meets the needs of its members, communities and patients. He will work alongside Cancer Center, UF and UF Health leaders to successfully execute the center’s strategic plan.

“With NCI designation, we have been provided a clear responsibility and an amazing opportunity to make an enduring difference not just here, but across our state and nation,” George said. “I am truly honored and humbled to take on this role. I have big shoes to fill, but I could not be more excited to contribute to the continued success of our cancer research and clinical programs.”

George completed his undergraduate degree, Doctor of Medicine degree, internal medicine residency and hematology and oncology fellowship all at UF.

Ensuring the center is on pace to reach its next goal — an even higher designation from the NCI known as comprehensive status — will require the entire university’s help, George said.

Eleven of UF’s 16 colleges are engaged in cancer research, George said, but he hopes to expand that to every college.

“Improvements in cancer discoveries and outcomes can come only through innovation,” he said, “and we need all hands on deck in our mission to tackle the challenges of cancer.”

Crispen’s main responsibility in his new role will be to guide the Cancer Center’s clinical trials portfolio, ensuring all clinical trials meet patients’ needs and advance cancer care.

“I am delighted to take on this position, which will enable me to advocate for all patients receiving care at UF Health,” Crispen said, adding that his primary goal will be to boost opportunities for patients to participate in clinical trials.

Crispen specializes in the surgical treatment of cancers involving the kidney, bladder, prostate, testes and penis. He received his medical degree at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, where he also completed a urology residency. He then completed fellowship training in urologic oncology at the Mayo Clinic.

Crispen is a research leader with the Cancer Center’s Genitourinary Disease Site Group. He is skilled in all areas of clinical trials, including patient recruitment, data and specimen collection, adverse event reporting, patient consent and collaboration across clinical specialties.

Both George and Crispen have won numerous awards for their teaching and clinical care, including the UF Health Cancer Center’s Most Valuable Player Award in 2013 and 2015, respectively.

About the author

Leah Buletti
Assistant Director of Communications for the UF Health Cancer Center

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