Internationally Recognized Surgeon Named Chief Surgical Officer at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey

Dr. H. Richard Alexander will expand surgical focus on gastrointestinal and rare malignancies

H. Richard Alexander, MD, FACSNew Brunswick, N.J. – Expanding its surgical and research focus on cancers of the abdominal area and rare conditions including endocrine and mesothelioma malignancies, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey has named H. Richard Alexander, MD, FACS, as its new chief surgical officer. He also has an appointment as a professor of surgery in the Division of Surgical Oncology at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Dr. Alexander most recently was on faculty at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Greenbaum Cancer Center, where he served as the head of surgical oncology in the Department of Surgery and professor and associate chairman for clinical research. Prior to arriving at the University of Maryland, Alexander spent 16 years at the National Institutes of Health, having served as chief of the Surgical Metabolism Section, chairman of the Gastrointestinal Malignancies Section and deputy director of the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Alexander, who will be part of Rutgers Cancer Institute’s Gastrointestinal Oncology Program when he arrives this fall, is an international leader in developing advanced treatments for peritoneal mesothelioma (the thin lining of the abdominal cavity) and peritoneal metastases (the thin lining of the abdominal cavity and surrounding areas) from cancers of the gastrointestinal or other abdominal cavity. His clinical expertise also focuses on gastrointestinal malignancies such as pancreatic, colorectal and liver cancers including his role in helping to develop a unique chemotherapy technique to treat those with inoperable liver metastases from melanoma. Alexander’s research also spans these areas and includes the assessment of molecular profiles and microenvironments of these tumors in order to personalize treatment for each patient.  His work has long been supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute and other funders.

“As the state’s only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey has an obligation to recruit the most accomplished professionals to ensure that the highest quality of care is being delivered to our patients. By adding Richard Alexander to our team, we are enabling our patients to receive additional surgical offerings that may not be afforded to them elsewhere,” notes Rutgers Cancer Institute Director Steven K. Libutti, MD, FACS, who is also senior vice president of oncology services for RWJBarnabas Health and vice chancellor for cancer programs for Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.

“Dr. Alexander’s vast experience in gastrointestinal cancers and rare malignancies such as mesothelioma will enhance Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School’s commitment to excellence as we train and mentor the next generation of surgeons, thus ensuring our role as an academic leader in surgical care,” notes Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs Leonard Y. Lee, MD, FACS, FACC, FCCP, who is also the James W. Mackenzie Endowed Chair in Surgery, professor and interim chair of the Department of Surgery and chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital – the flagship hospital of Rutgers Cancer Institute and an RWJBarnabas Health Facility. Dr. Lee also serves as Vice President-Clinical Affairs of Rutgers Health Group.

“It is my privilege to work at an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and an academic medical facility that are committed to conducting cutting-edge research and offering the latest treatment technologies in order to provide the best care possible for patients. By helping to educate those just starting their surgical careers and by working alongside the vast team of dedicated and highly experienced professionals at Rutgers Cancer Institute, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, I look forward to further enhancing the clinical and academic values of these very strong programs,” adds Alexander.

Having received his undergraduate degree at the University of Colorado and medical degree from Georgetown University, Alexander completed a general surgery residency at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. After serving as a medical officer in the United States Navy, he completed a surgical oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the American Surgical Association and the Society of Surgical Oncology. He is current past chair of the Society of Surgical Oncology’s Research Committee and previously a member of the society’s Executive Committee.  He serves as the chair of the board of directors of the Mesothelioma Research Foundation and is a member of numerous surgical professional societies.

Alexander serves as an ad-hoc reviewer of articles for high-impact journals including New England Journal of Medicine, Cancer Research and Annals of Surgical Oncology and sits on the current editorial board of the journal Surgery. He has published more than 250 articles in peer reviewed journals as well as book chapters and presents regularly at national and international professional meetings.

About Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey ( is the state’s first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. As part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Rutgers Cancer Institute is dedicated to improving the detection, treatment and care of patients with cancer, and to serving as an education resource for cancer prevention both at its flagship New Brunswick location and at its Newark campus at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey at University Hospital. Physician-scientists across Rutgers Cancer Institute also engage in translational research, transforming their laboratory discoveries into clinical practice that supports patients on both campuses. To make a tax-deductible gift to support the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, call 848-932-8013 or visit Follow us on Facebook at


Michele Fisher