Partners in cancer care excellence: Joint program assures the best in cancer care


Joint Program Assures the Best in Cancer Care

Courtesy Mary Bird Perkins, Northshore LIVING WELL Magazine

St. Tammany Parish Hospital’s long partnership with Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, begun in 1998, delivers the full range of treatment modalities to cancer patients on the Northshore. Now the two organizations are entering a new phase in the partnership to elevate local cancer care to the highest level and give Northshore patients something they have not had before: seamless, uninterrupted, expert, compassionate care. Patients benefit from the new cancer center’s integrated resources because all caregivers along the spectrum can see their history and experience and have local access to early stage clinical trials of emerging cancer therapies.

“The full gamut of services along with clinical trials truly improves treatment and literally saves lives,” says Chryl Corizzo, STPH cancer services director. “This will do that, here in our own community.”

Patti Ellish, STPH president/CEO, noted the hospital’s deep-rooted history with Mary Bird Perkins, which includes accreditation as an integrated cancer program by the American College of Surgeons.

“This is the latest step in our continued strategy to align and strengthen comprehensive cancer care on the Northshore,” Ellish says.

Ultimately, the two organizations will deliver integrated services as Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center at St. Tammany Parish Hospital, which will be the first floor of the Charles A. Frederick Medical Office Complex, 1203 S. Tyler St., directly across from St. Tammany’s main hospital building.

Several elements of the intensified partnership are already in place. Last Spring Mary Bird Perkins relocated its Northshore radiation therapy and support services to the Frederick Complex. The STPH skybridge connects the cancer center to the main hospital so that patients, physicians and visitors have safe, easy direct access to the main campus. This spring, center leadership anticipates completion of the relocation of services, making reality of the seamless care envisioned in Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center at St. Tammany Parish Hospital.

Over the coming months, the cancer center will become the new home of the STPH Cancer Resource Center, oncologists’ offices, palliative care and additional support services.

Patients and families can look to see early detection screenings, nutrition and dietary support as well as community outreach being added to the center. An onsite cancer navigator will guide patients through multifaceted courses of treatment.

Full implementation of other elements of the enhanced partnership, notably early clinical trials of new therapies, will proceed over the next three to five years, says Renea Duffin, Mary Bird Perkins vice president of cancer programs.

“The closer ties between the two programs will bring the best practices of a National Cancer Institute community cancer program initiative to the Northshore,” Duffin says “as Mary Bird brings to Covington the best practices that we learn through our NCI program in Baton Rouge.”

The center’s location is a central aspect of its benefit for patients. Corizzo explains, “Dealing with cancer is challenging enough without having to travel.”

“Patients want access to the best possible treatment, but they want it close to home. Renewing and strengthening this partnership expands our ability to deliver on that promise to our Northshore patients.”

For more about integrated cancer care on the Northshore, contact Mary Bird Perkins in Covington at 985-875-2234 or St. Tammany Parish Hospital’s Cancer Resource Center at 985- 898-4581.

“The full gamut of services along with clinical trials truly improve treatment and literally save lives.” – Chryl Corizzo, STPH cancer services director. “This will do that, here in our own community.”

In Support of Cancer Care Excellence

The integrated cancer program of Mary Bird Perkins and St. Tammany Parish Hospital includes joint philanthropic efforts. Leslie Landry, associate director of development for Mary Bird Perkins on the Northshore, leads the effort through fundraising initiatives and charitable events benefiting the joint program in the new cancer center on the STPH campus.

“My task is to seek support for the integrated cancer program, to help it provide the best possible care to patients in St. Tammany and Washington parishes,” says Landry. More information on support opportunities is available by contacting Leslie at 225-215-1429 or