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Rozalyn Levine Rodwin, MD, Awarded $100,000 Grant to Treat Survivors of Childhood Cancer

August 17, 2023

Benefits HEROS Childhood Cancer Survivorship Clinic

Rozalyn Levine Rodwin, MD, Assistant Professor in Pediatrics (Hematology Oncology), says the patients and families she serves as Director of the HEROS childhood cancer survivorship clinic at Smilow Cancer Hospital “are the motivation for the work we do.”

“I am so fortunate to lead this program and to work as part of a multidisciplinary team that prioritizes the health of survivors,” Dr. Rodwin said.

That work became a little easier on August 16 when Dr. Rodwin accepted a $100,000 Hyundai Impact Award from the Hyundai Hope on Wheels program during a ceremony at Smilow Cancer Hospital. The award will support the HEROS Clinic, a national research center for investigation of health outcomes in childhood cancer that focuses on screening and managing the potential long-term effects of treatment. HEROS stands for Health Education Research and Outcomes of Survivors of childhood cancer.

“We are so fortunate that due to treatment, more than 80% of childhood cancer patients will be cured of their cancer,” Dr. Rodwin said. “But it’s becoming more and more apparent that children can experience late effects from childhood cancer. This is why specialized survivorship care is so important.”

Dr. Rodwin said the Hyundai grant will fund a new survivorship nurse within the clinic. This person will serve as integrator, coordinator, and educator, supporting survivors as they transition from treatment to survivorship care. The new nurse will “ensure that survivors are scheduled in clinic in a timely manner, prepare survivorship care plans focused on necessary surveillance for all survivors, and educate survivors and their families regarding their ongoing healthcare needs,” she said.

Dr. Rodwin was accompanied by several of her colleagues, including Teresa Kristoff, Child Life Supervisor at Yale New Haven Hospital. Also on hand were Clifford Bogue, MD, the Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Pediatrics, Chair, Pediatrics, and Chief Medical Officer at Yale New Haven Children's Hospital, Lakshmanan Krishnamurti, MD, Chief of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Bone Marrow Transplant and Leader of the Smilow Cancer Hospital Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program, and Bryan Thompson, Senior Group Manager, Regional Sales, Hyundai Motor America.

“Our goal of curing cancer is to make sure that every child has a normal life and becomes a full member of society,” Dr. Krishnamurti said.

Thompson noted that the Hope on Wheels program has provided $225 million to childhood cancer researchers across the country since its start in 1998.

“This is a fight that we joined 25 years ago and one we will continue with until we have eradicated childhood cancer,” said Thompson, who was accompanied by three Connecticut Hyundai dealers.

Afterward, Dr. Rodwin had some fun with childhood cancer survivors who painted their hands then left a palm print on a special lab coat she was given for the ceremony.

Last year, the Hope on Wheels program awarded Juan Vasquez, MD, Assistant Professor Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, a Scholar Hope Grant, and Vidya Puthenpura, MD, MHS, FAAP, Instructor, a Young Investigator Grant. The funds are supporting their work in improving outcomes and treatment for children diagnosed with cancer.

Submitted by Terence P. Corcoran on August 17, 2023