Elkins to head UMMC hematology/oncology divisionPublished on Tuesday, August 15, 2017By: Cynthia WallElkinsDr. Stephanie Elkins, professor of medicine at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, has been named director of the Department of Medicine’s Division of Hematology/Oncology.Elkins, who grew up in Oak Grove near Hattiesburg and attended the University of Southern Mississippi, completed medical school and a fellowship at UMMC before joining the faculty in 1994.At UMMC, she has worked primarily with patients who have blood-related cancers or diseases. She also has served as medical director of the Apheresis Unit, Anticoagulation Clinic and as director of the Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program, among other activities. She is on the American College of Physicians’ Internal Medicine in Training Exam Question Writing Committee.“Oncology and hematology are the core of the clinical programs at the Cancer Institute,” said Dr. John Ruckdeschel, Cancer Institute director. “Stephanie’s extensive clinical experience, her focus on clinical excellence and education and her first-hand knowledge of most of the state’s oncologists made her an ideal choice for this position.”Dr. Dan Jones, interim chair of the Department of Medicine and director of Clinical and Population Sciences in the Mississippi Center for Obesity Research, said Elkins is ideally suited to lead the division. “She is an outstanding clinician and educator and is committed to supporting the clinical research in this division to assure Mississippians have access to the best and latest care options available,” he said.Elkins said her immediate goals are to maintain high standards of patient care, add needed services and work to eliminate barriers to physicians and researchers working together to seek new cancer therapies.In addition, she said, the division must be at the forefront of UMMC’s efforts to serve as the preferred referral partner for current oncology providers.“Everything focuses on more research applicable to our populations and moving that to offerings for our patients,” she said. With a shortage of oncologists forecast, she said UMMC and the Cancer Institute also must maintain its focus on training doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers who work with cancer patients. “It’s one of our main missions,” she said.