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Dr Schleicher, Dr Dickson Discuss New Roles at Tennessee Oncology

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Stephen Schleicher, MD, MBA, and Natalie Dickson, MD, discuss their new roles as chief medical officer (CMO) and chief strategy officer (CSO), respectively, at Tennessee Oncology.

Tennessee Oncology announced new leadership roles for medical oncologist Stephen Schleicher, MD, MBA, and Natalie Dickson, MD, a medical oncologist/hematologist who most recently served as president and CMO. Effective January 1, Schleicher became CMO, while Dickson remains president while taking on the new role of CSO.


Dr Schleicher, can you please explain your new role and responsibilities as CMO?

Schleicher: In my new role as chief medical officer at Tennessee Oncology, I will continue working very closely with Dr Dixon, who has been our previous chief medical officer and president, and who will remain president with her new role, chief strategy officer. Tennessee Oncology has done a great job over the last 5 years plus of making itself a unique, world-class cancer organization in the community. A lot of that relies on internal maximization of quality, innovation, and drive towards value. My goal is to continue to support that internally and help that grow, so we can continue to be a unique, high quality, comprehensive service offering in the community. [This] includes a push of innovation towards value—we’ll continued that—helping us clinically to continue top notch, evidence-based care at all of our 30-plus clinic sites; to continue to support expansion of services, such as psychology, genetics, integrative oncology, and other things that every patient wherever he or she may live needs access to; to really make sure all of our clinics can continue to provide that high quality, comprehensive care. And, we will continue to push innovation, just as Dr Dixon has done in her many years as chief medical officer before this.

Dr Dickson, can you please explain your new role and responsibilities as CSO and how that expands your responsibilities as president?

Dixon: As president, my goal is to enhance a culture that promotes the highest quality of care across our clinical and our ancillary sites, and in this, we accomplish our mission. I’m also involved in looking at ways to improve service excellence and patient-centered care, and ensuring that we have the resources for continuous improvement and for innovation. It’s also my role—and it’s really important—to help create a highly attractive practice environment, not just for physicians, but also the staff, and to foster their professional development and their personal well-being. So, in my expanding role as chief strategy officer, I will work closely with our CEO and our executive team to provide strategic and visionary input to advance the transformation of care delivery, and to seek new opportunities for growth. It will be important for me to strengthen our partnerships, make new relationships, and identify new processes, technology, and new business opportunities. As Dr Schleicher alluded to just now, there are so many exciting things happening at Tennessee Oncology. We have specialized teams working on patient monitoring and patient communication; [we are] expanding our data analytics capabilities, [with] the addition of new technologies to support care coordination, new medical home programs, in partnership with payers; and partnerships with local hospital systems to enhance comprehensive care. [We are] developing clinical trial research through Sarah Cannon Research Institute, a comprehensive precision medicine program, and the steady addition of new clinics. And so, it’s important that my actions and decisions as chief strategy officer help to bolster these initiatives.


This transcript has been edited for clarity.