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New Chief of Thoracic and Head and Neck Medical Oncology Named to New Jersey’s Only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

Missak Haigentz, Jr., MD, begins role at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and RWJBarnabas Health
Wed, 09/01/2021 - 08:00

New Brunswick, September 1, 2021 – Expanding its multidisciplinary teams of highly specialized experts uniquely focused on the management of head and neck cancers and cancer of the lung, pleura and mediastinum, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and RWJBarnabas Health have welcomed Missak Haigentz, Jr., MD, as chief of Thoracic and Head and Neck Medical Oncology and clinical director for Oncology Integration.  He also has been appointed as a professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He comes from Atlantic Health System, where he served as medical director of Hematology and Oncology and section chief of Hematology and Oncology at Morristown Medical Center. 

Dr. Haigentz will co-lead the Head and Neck Oncology Program and the Thoracic Oncology Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute and collaborate with colleagues across RWJBarnabas Health in the management of patient care in these areas. In his role as clinical director for Oncology Integration for RWJBarnabas Health, he will promote clinical integration and facilitate the coordination of patient care across the oncology service line to improve patient safety and efficiency. Also as part of this role, he will develop and consult on programs and services that ensure improved patient-centered care, including appropriate screening and preventive services, wellness initiatives and value-based care.

“I am excited to join New Jersey’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center to bring expanded specialized expertise to the areas of thoracic and head and neck oncology,” notes Haigentz. “I look forward to working with a team of clinicians and researchers who provide the best cutting-edge care for patients and continue to expand access to and participation in clinical trials, some of which are only available at NCI-designated centers such as Rutgers Cancer Institute.”

“Our programs at Rutgers Cancer Institute are based on a collaboration of a number of experienced specialists, including medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists and others,” notes Deborah Toppmeyer, MD, chief medical officer and chief of medical oncology at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. “We look forward to Dr. Haigentz leading medical oncology of the head and neck and thoracic programs, further enabling our teams to deliver comprehensive, multidisciplinary care for our patients,” adds Dr. Toppmeyer, who is also a professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Haigentz pursued his undergraduate studies at the University of California in Los Angeles and received his medical degree at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School. After completing residency training in internal medicine at New Jersey Medical School where he also served as chief medical resident, he received subspecialty fellowship training in hematology and oncology at the New York University School of Medicine.

Haigentz has published numerous peer reviewed articles and book chapters focusing on topics relating to head and neck and lung cancers. He has served on the faculty of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine for the past 20 years, most recently as adjunct clinical professor of medicine (oncology) and otorhinolaryngology–head & neck surgery, and while at Atlantic Health System he established and led an NCI Community Oncology Research Program as principal investigator.

About Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
As New Jersey’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Rutgers Cancer Institute, together with RWJBarnabas Health, offers the most advanced cancer treatment options including bone marrow transplantation, proton therapy, CAR T-cell therapy and complex surgical procedures.  Along with clinical trials and novel therapeutics such as precision medicine and immunotherapy – many of which are not widely available – patients have access to these cutting-edge therapies at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey at University Hospital in Newark, as well as through RWJBarnabas Health facilities. To make a tax-deductible gift to support the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, call 848-932-8013 or visit www.cinj.org/giving.

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