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Community LiaisonLiaison.

That is some fancy word. Probably French. Webster’s defines liaison as: an illicit sexual relationship. Most definitely a French word. But liason also means, “one that establishes and maintains communication for mutual understanding and cooperation.”

My colleagues, the physicians and nurses of Tennova Healthcare, have asked me to serve as the Cancer Liaison between Tennova Healthcare and the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer.

The Commission on Cancer is “dedicated to improving survival and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting.” My practice of cancer surgery is dedicated to those same principles: saving and improving the lives of women with breast cancer. Whether it is Fellowship in the American College of Surgeons, membership in the Society of Surgical Oncology, or participation in the American Society of Breast Surgeons Mastery of Breast Surgery Program, these international groups provide me the opportunity to share ideas with friends, learn new techniques from colleagues and study innovations from surgical leaders. It is through these interactions that I continuously improve the delivery of quality cancer care.

A kiss from my wife, a smile from my kids, or a simple thank you from a patient are a few of my favorite things. Still, the recognition by my peers of my dedication and skill in treating cancer is a reward and acknowledgement that brings me great joy.

As the liaison, it is my responsibility to “manage clinically related cancer activities” at Tennova Healthcare and the greater Knox County communities. Community medical centers partner with the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer to ensure delivery of quality cancer care through sharing data, studying new processes, and exchanging experiences. The Cancer Liaison’s responsibility is to bring those new ideas from the participating national medical centers so that East Tennessee can experience the best in quality cancer care.

I want every breast cancer patient in East Tennessee to receive care of the highest quality. I want every mother to see her children grow up. I want every grandmother to be able to rock their grandchildren to sleep. I want wives to grow old with their husbands and I want daughters to play with their babies and raise their families.

Quality is not static, but requires a constant devotion to study, to teaching, to improvement, and to our patients. It is my sincere hope that as Cancer Liaison, I can do my part in raising the level of cancer care delivered in East Tennessee.