American Cancer Society Names New Illinois Division President

Amy Jo Steinbruecker
Updated 1/15/2013 1:38 PM
  • Photo provided by American Cancer Society

K. Thomas Robbins, M.D., has been elected volunteer president of the Illinois Division of the American Cancer Society. Dr. Robbins, the Simmons Chair of Excellence in Oncology and Director, Simmons Cancer Institute at Southern Illinois University (SIU) in Springfield, Ill., will serve a one-year term, effective immediately, with his recent election by the Society's Illinois board of directors.

In this position, the American Cancer Society's highest medical and scientific volunteer office in Illinois, Dr. Robbins will provide leadership on the Society's core mission strategies of research, education, advocacy and patient services. He also will guide the Society in establishing local strategies in Illinois supporting the Society's nationwide plan to save lives through the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer.

"Dr. Robbins' vision and leadership is a crucial component of our mission to finish the fight against cancer," said Alan D. Lev, chairman of the board of the American Cancer Society's Illinois Division. "We are honored and delighted he will serve as president as we strive to prevent cancer, diminish suffering and save lives."

Dr. Robbins has been active with the American Cancer Society for nine years and has held a variety of volunteer leadership assignments. He is a member of the board's Executive Committee and has chaired the Illinois Division's Research Advisory Committee. He also served on the committees for patient services, advocacy and cancer incidence and end results.

"It's an honor for me to serve the American Cancer Society in this leadership role and build on the great progress toward winning the war on cancer as early as possible in this next century," Robbins said.

Dr. Robbins joined the faculty at the SIU School of Medicine in 2003 as professor and chair of the otolaryngology division, specializing in the treatment of head and neck cancer. Prior to joining SIU, Dr. Robbins was chair of otolaryngology at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Previously he was on the faculty of the University of Tennessee in Memphis, the University of California, San Diego and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. A native of Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Canada, Dr. Robbins and his wife, Dr. Gayle Woodson, are the parents of three children.

The Society's Illinois Division board also elected:

Elizabeth Marcus, M.D., as its first vice president.

Dr. Marcus, of Chicago, is the chairman of the John H. Stroger Hospital of Cook County Division of Breast Oncology in Chicago.

Kay Gaehle, PhD, RN as its second vice president. Gaehle, of Highland, is an associate professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Nursing.

Phillip Davis, PhD, as its secretary of the board. Davis, of Springfield, is associate director of medical humanities at SIU School of Medicine.

Continuing Illinois Division officers include: Alan D. Lev of Northbrook as chairman, Zachary A. Fortsch of Chicago as first vice chairman and Sue McWilliams of Lake Bluff as second vice chairman.