A group of radiation oncologists from Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine recently traveled to the Dominican Republic for a hands-on consulting engagement at Instituto Oncologico Heriberto Pieter (IOHP) in Santo Domingo.
The cancer specialists made the trip to as part of the memorandum of understanding signed a year ago in Miami with the institute’s medical director, Jose Ramirez, M.D., formalizing participation in the Global Oncology program by the two cancer centers.
The Sylvester team consisted of Cristiane Takita, M.D., M.B.A., a breast cancer specialist, William Amestoy, RT, chief dosimetrist, Jose Hernandez, radiation therapist, and Stephanie Pavolini, project manager for Sylvester’s Global Oncology initiative.
The team conducted a site assessment of IOHPs radiation oncology unit and recommended a series of improvements for the institute to better its services.
Dr. Takita taught the IOHP team the latest advances in brachytherapy for breast cancer, observed several procedures, and participated in the institute’s tumor board. She also gave a presentation — “Latest Updates for Radiation Oncology in Breast Cancer” — at an invitation-only reception for 100 cancer specialists.
Amestoy worked with physicists to improve their treatment planning, while also reviewing protocols to ensure patient safety.
“We wanted our exchange to be effective, but our biggest responsibility was to ensure IOHP was keeping patients safe — increasing survival rates while minimizing side effects” said Amestoy. “We returned from our trip having learned from each other. The interaction between professionals brought us together and made us stronger as a team.”
Hernandez guided therapists on the correct positioning of patients on radiology equipment.
“We left Miami wanting to improve our partner’s delivery of radiation,” said Hernandez, “but the exchange of ideas and the sharing of knowledge will also improve the quality of care our patients receive at Sylvester.”
Also participating were Matthew Studenski, Ph.D., who delivered a virtual talk on treatment planning, and Alan Dal Pra, M.D., who remotely delivered a talk on brachytherapy for prostate cancer.