The Cancer Network of West Michigan has appointed a University of Michigan Health oncology expert to lead the Network’s innovative and collaborative approach to providing patients with the most advanced cancer care close to home.
Shruti Jolly, MD, a radiation oncologist, professor and physician leader, will draw on her extensive experience serving West Michigan patients in her new role of executive director of the Network.
Jolly, who has been serving in the role in an interim capacity for the past year, said she is energized by the opportunity to work with local physicians and lead the members of the Network in its collaborative approach to providing expert cancer care.
She takes the reins from University of Michigan Health surgical oncologist Clifford Cho, MD, who served as interim executive medical director since the 2019 formation of the Network, a collaboration of Trinity Health Muskegon, Trinity Health Saint Mary’s – Grand Rapids, and University of Michigan Health-West, backed by the expertise of University of Michigan Health in Ann Arbor.
“I envision a very robust subspecialty cancer program that allows access to personalized University of Michigan cancer care close to home with accessibility to a wide network and clinical trials,” she said.
“What’s unique about us is that we are not building a brand-new system,” Jolly said. “We are using what is already successful in West Michigan and taking it to the next level.”
The Network also has appointed a new administrative director: Ashley Mitchell, Trinity Health Saint Mary’s Lack Cancer Center administrative clinical services director of oncology.
As an advanced oncology certified nurse practitioner, Mitchell has nearly 20 years of experience caring for cancer patients, along with a track record of leadership and program development focused on holistic care. Mitchell sees the potential of the Network to open doors to more clinical trials and greater access to leading technologies in cancer care.
“The Network provides an excellent opportunity to collaboratively strengthen and expand cancer services offered in West Michigan,” Mitchell said.
Another strength of the Network, Jolly said, is its design as a seamless care system. A central access point has been developed with a dedicated phone line staffed by oncology nurses for referring physicians and patients alike. This allows direct connection with cancer experts throughout the Network at the most appropriate location.
“The goal is to make navigating the entire cancer treatment process simple for patients and providers across West Michigan,” she said.
After earning undergraduate and medical degrees at Wayne State University as a Presidential Scholar, Jolly completed medical training at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, where she served as chief resident and received the RSNA Roentgen Resident Research Award.
At University of Michigan, she serves as Professor and Associate Chair of Community Practices in the Department of Radiation Oncology, the Associate Director for the Michigan Medicine statewide cancer network at the Rogel Cancer Center as well as the Associate Chief Clinical Strategy Officer for Cancer services for Michigan Medicine. She is familiar with West Michigan, having served radiation oncology patients at Trinity Health and University of Michigan Health-West for many years.
Jolly said she was drawn to oncology as a medical student, when she saw combining compassionate care with progress in treatments that were helping cancer patients live longer and with a better quality of life.
“There continue to be tremendous advancements in oncology – so much so it can be hard to keep up, making a partnership with an academic institution essential,” she said, noting another advantage of the Cancer Network of West Michigan’s collaborative approach.
“Having experts who are very focused in specific areas of oncology is very beneficial,” she said. “That includes the subspecialty experts locally as well as from Ann Arbor as part of the team.”
Being able to access advanced care close to home is vital to get through complex treatments for cancer patients, Jolly said.
“Patients come to us in a very vulnerable state and we as providers make very close connections with them. They are very introspective at this time of their life,” she said. “Having that provider and social support system closer to home is essential. Whenever possible, our goal is to provide care in the community where patients live.”
To learn more about the Cancer Network of West Michigan and the comprehensive services provided, visit https://wmicancernetwork.org/