TGH Cancer Institute Expands Programs with Medical Oncologists Victoria Rizk and Noman AshrafPublished: Jul 14, 2022
Drs. Rizk and Ashraf expand range of clinical care and research provided by TGH Cancer Institute to patients with solid tumors.
Tampa, FL (July, 14, 2022) – Tampa General Hospital announces that medical oncologists, Dr. Victoria Rizk and Dr. Noman Ashraf, have joined the TGH Cancer Institute, which is dedicated to elevating cancer care, clinical research, education and training with a world-class team of cancer specialists. “Since the establishment of the TGH Cancer Institute in April 2021, we aimed to excel not only in cancer care and clinical research but also in education and training of the next generation of cancer investigators. The recruitment to our faculty of medical oncologists and educators of the caliber of Drs. Rizk and Ashraf will speed up our efforts to be leaders in all these areas,” said Dr. Eduardo M. Sotomayor, director, TGH Cancer Institute.
Returning to Tampa After Years Spent at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Dr. Rizk is very familiar with the Tampa Bay area. After completing an accelerated, six-year combined bachelor’s/medical degree program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine in 2013, she moved to Tampa to complete her internal medicine residency at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. After finishing a hematology/oncology fellowship at USF/Moffitt Cancer Center, Rizk joined the world-renowned breast cancer division at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, N.Y., where she embarked in a highly productive academic career as a clinical investigator and educator before returning home and joining TGH Cancer Institute.
“As an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer patients, Rizk brings invaluable skills in patient care and clinical research to our rapidly growing breast cancer program. Furthermore, her passion for better understanding breast cancer in young women to develop more effective therapies for this population aligns very well with the goals of our program,” said Dr. Jamie McKenzie, breast medical oncologist at TGH Cancer Institute, who joined the academic medical center in 2021 from Boston.
Rizk said she always knew she wanted to be an oncologist: “Between growing up with two sisters and attending an all-girls school, women’s health has been a priority throughout my life. I specifically pursued a career in oncology that focused on breast cancer because of its prevalence and how profoundly it impacts patients. Breast cancer screening saves lives, but we need to educate and provide resources to those who need it the most,” Rizk continued.
One of Rizk’s goals at the TGH Cancer Institute is to launch a program focused on the needs of young women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. The program will include support from a psychologist, nutritionist, social worker, fertility counselor and geneticist. “I want to shed light on the unique needs of young women dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis. There are so many layers to getting diagnosed at a young age, and we need to provide resources that support patients in every aspect of their lives.”
Rizk is board certified in internal medicine and medical oncology. She is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the European Society for Medical Oncology, the American College of Physicians, and the American Medical Association. She has authored or co-authored several publications in top-tier journals and she is a highly regarded clinical investigator and educator.
“The TGH Cancer Institute is part of the hospital’s vision to be the safest and most innovative academic health system in America and adding such a distinguished professional to the team benefits everyone,” said Dr. Abraham Schwarzberg, chief of oncology and senior vice president of network development at Tampa General. “Dr. Rizk is a first-rate physician, researcher and educator, and we’re thrilled to welcome her to our team. Her scientific, clinical and people skills will help us provide an even more sophisticated level of treatment and will ensure we continue to deliver leading-edge care for our breast cancer patients and their families.”
A Gifted Clinician and a Passionate Educator
A passionate expert in medical oncology, teaching and education, Dr. Ashraf earned his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan, in 2003. After moving to the United States, he did a residency in internal medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston followed by postgraduate training in hematology/oncology at USF/Moffitt Cancer Center from 2009 to 2012. In 2013, Ashraf joined the staff at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa and as an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. His exceptional clinical skills, together with his understanding of clinical operations, led to his promotion to assistant chief of Hematology/Oncology at the VA. In this role, he was actively involved in quality improvement projects and leadership roles along with clinical research in solid malignancies, specifically lung cancer, head and neck malignancies and prostate cancer.
He was a site principal investigator (PI) for a $3 million grant (VA-ORD) to create a center of excellence at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital as part of the nationwide lung precision oncology program. In addition, his passion for teaching and mentorship led to his appointment as Chair of the Hematology Oncology Fellowship Program Evaluation Committee, USF/Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, and to his promotion to associate professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at USF in 2019.
“Simply put, Noman was one the best fellows I trained in my 25-year academic career. His knowledge during his years as an oncology fellow and his passion for teaching were second to none in the nation. Upon my return to the Tampa Bay area, I was not surprised to hear about the accomplishments in clinical care, research and education and mentorship that Noman has already achieved in his very productive academic career,” Dr. Sotomayor said. “Recruiting a gifted clinician and educator of the caliber of Dr. Ashraf is a win not only for Tampa General Hospital, but also for the Tampa Bay community and shows our commitment to provide world-class cancer care to patients with solid malignancies and to the education and training of the next generation of cancer clinical investigators under Dr. Ashraf’s leadership.”
At Tampa General Hospital, Ashraf will focus on the care of patients with solid tumors, in particular those with lung cancer and head and neck malignancies. He will work with a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, radiation oncologists, pathologists, pharmacists and supportive staff to provide cutting-edge treatment and access to clinical trials. He also will expand the oncology program at the TGH Brandon Healthplex and Riverview Cancer clinics.
“It’s an honor to be part of the patient’s journey and to serve as a mentor for the next generation of medical oncologists and clinical investigators,” Ashraf said. “The TGH Cancer Institute is highly focused on offering clinically excellent, personalized and holistic care to our patients from one of the country’s leading academic medical centers.”
Ashraf wants to emphasize to patients that cancer is a treatable and often curable disease. “With access to leading-edge research and innovation, there are many resources at TGH Cancer Institute to support patients in their fight against cancer, and to provide unique educational experiences to our medical students, residents and fellows,” he said.
“The Cancer Institute is part of the hospital’s goal to become the nation’s top health care center and adding such a distinguished clinical investigator and educator to the team benefits everyone,” Dr. Schwarzberg said. “Dr. Ashraf will be vital in offering patients the best and most advanced oncology choices as part of a comprehensive, multidisciplinary program. We are focused on personalized cancer care at the highest level, anywhere in the country.”
Ashraf is board certified in internal medicine, hematology and medical oncology and is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Florida Association of Clinical Oncology and the American College of Physicians. He has authored or co-authored several publications in top-tier journals and presented his clinical research in national and international forums. He is also regarded by medical students, residents, fellows and by his peers as one of the best educators and mentors in the region and across Florida.
Rizk and Ashraf, together with fellow TGH Cancer Institute physicians, offer a highly coordinated range of multidisciplinary specialties such as breast, thoracic oncology, head and neck cancers, sarcomas, colorectal and gynecologic oncology. Advanced subspecialties are offered as well, including liver and hepatobiliary oncology, genitourinary (reproductive system and genitourinary tract) and hematologic malignancies. Tampa General will continue to take a multidisciplinary approach and will strongly emphasize compassionate and personalized care that focuses on the whole patient. For more information about the Tampa General Hospital Cancer Institute, visit https://www.tgh.org/institutes-and-services/cancer-institute.
ABOUT TAMPA GENERAL HOSPITAL
Tampa General Hospital, a 1,041-bed, not-for-profit, academic medical center, is one of the largest hospitals in America and delivers world-class care as the region’s only center for Level l trauma and comprehensive burn care. Tampa General Hospital is the highest-ranked hospital in the market in U.S. News & World Report's 2021-22 Best Hospitals, and one of the top four hospitals in Florida, with five specialties ranking among the best programs in the United States. Tampa General Hospital has been designated as a model of excellence by the 2022 Fortune/Merative 100 Top Hospitals list. The academic medical center’s commitment to growing and developing its team members is recognized by two prestigious 2021 Forbes magazine rankings – America’s Best Employers by State, third out of 100 Florida companies and first among health care and social organizations, and 13th nationally in America’s Best Employers for Women. Tampa General is the safety net hospital for the region, caring for everyone regardless of their ability to pay, and in fiscal year 2020, provided a net community benefit worth more than $182.5 million in the form of health care for underinsured patients, community education, and financial support to community health organizations in Tampa Bay. It is one of the nation’s busiest adult solid organ transplant centers and is the primary teaching hospital for the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. With six medical helicopters, Tampa General Hospital transports critically injured or ill patients from 23 surrounding counties to receive the advanced care they need. Tampa General houses a nationally accredited comprehensive stroke center, and its 32-bed Neuroscience, Intensive Care Unit is the largest on the West Coast of Florida. It also is home to the Jennifer Leigh Muma 82-bed Level IV neonatal intensive care unit, and a nationally accredited rehabilitation center. Tampa General Hospital’s footprint includes 17 Tampa General Medical Group Primary Care offices, TGH Family Care Center Kennedy, TGH Brandon Healthplex, TGH Virtual Health, and 21 TGH Imaging powered by Tower outpatient radiology centers throughout Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Palm Beach counties. Tampa Bay area residents also receive world-class care from the TGH Urgent Care powered by Fast Track network of clinics, and they can even receive home visits in select areas through TGH Urgent Care at Home, powered by Fast Track. As one of the largest hospitals in the country, Tampa General Hospital is the first in Florida to partner with GE Healthcare and open a clinical command center that uses artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to improve and better coordinate patient care at a lower cost. For more information, go to www.tgh.org.