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John Muir Health Announces Inaugural Endowed Medical Directorship

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                   

April 10, 2024

(Walnut Creek, Calif.) – John Muir Health is proud to announce the establishment of its first endowed Medical Directorship. Thanks to a generous contribution from Susan and Nicholas Hellmann, the endowment will fund the Medical Directorship of Oncology, marking a significant milestone in the organization's commitment to advancing cancer care. Dr. Tiffany Svahn serves as the current Susan Desmond-Hellmann Medical Director of Oncology at John Muir Health.

Susan Desmond-Hellmann, M.D., MPH, is an oncologist, physician-scientist, and biotechnology leader who led the development of the first gene-targeted drug for treating breast cancer. Her preeminent career spans over 40 years and includes medicine, scientific research, philanthropy, and academia. In addition to her studies of cancer and HIV/AIDS, Desmond-Hellmann provided senior leadership for America’s top biotechnology companies, including Genentech and Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical. She also was a leader in higher education as the first female Chancellor of UCSF Health, headed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as its CEO, and is a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Nicholas Hellmann, M.D., is an infectious diseases physician whose career has spanned academia, industry, and global health. He served as the Executive Vice President of Medical and Scientific Affairs at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatrics AIDS Foundation and was the leader of the HIV/AIDS program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where he was responsible for strategy, research, programs, and policies related to HIV/AIDS. Hellmann has extensive experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors, having worked with industry leaders like Roche Molecular Systems, Gilead Sciences, and Genentech.

In addition to her position as the Medical Director of Oncology, Dr. Svahn is President of the John Muir Health Cancer Medical Group and is a John Muir Health Foundation Board Director. She is a graduate of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, served as an Assistant Chief Resident at Memorial Sloane-Kettering Cancer Center, and completed her Medical Oncology fellowship at Stanford University. Her leadership has been instrumental in driving excellence in cancer care at John Muir Health.

Building on the outstanding cancer care already delivered in the community, UCSF Health and John Muir Health recently opened the Jean and Ken Hofmann Cancer Center on the campus of John Muir Health’s Walnut Creek Medical Center. The UCSF-John Muir Health Jean and Ken Hofmann Cancer Center offers prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care coordination for patients close to home. In a space that is calm, inviting, and focused on healing, patients are able to seamlessly navigate their health journey with extensive support through nurse navigator and survivorship programs, genetic counseling, nutrition, and more as part of a comprehensive cancer care program. ​

Dr. Svahn conveyed her appreciation to the Hellmanns, affirming, "The establishment of this endowment marks a substantial contribution to the advancement of cancer care at John Muir Health. The exceptional dedication demonstrated by the Hellmanns highlights the importance of community collaboration in enhancing outcomes for individuals battling cancer."

Mike Thomas, President and CEO of John Muir Health adds, "I am extremely grateful to Sue and Nick. This endowment will enable us to continue our mission of delivering exceptional cancer care to our community. Creating an endowed Medical Directorship of Oncology is a powerful opportunity to bring the future of cancer care to fruition by providing sustained financial support and fueling life-saving innovations.”

The Hellmanns concur: “We are proud to support the UCSF-John Muir Health Jean and Ken Hofmann Cancer Center, its physician leaders, and the entire health care team. We are excited to see John Muir Health and UCSF Health partner to enhance cancer care for the East Bay community and beyond.”


Media Contact:

John Muir Health:
Ben Drew (925) 947-5387

About John Muir Health

John Muir Health is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit health care organization east of San Francisco serving patients in Contra Costa, Alameda, and southern Solano Counties. It includes a network of more than 1,000 primary care and specialty physicians, 6,300 employees, medical centers in Concord and Walnut Creek, including Contra Costa County’s only trauma center and a Behavioral Health Center. John Muir Health also has partnerships with UCSF Health, Tenet Healthcare/San Ramon Regional Medical Center, Stanford Children's Health, Optum, and Carbon Health. The health system offers a full-range of medical services, including primary care, outpatient, and imaging services, and is widely recognized as a leader in many specialties – neurosciences, orthopedic, cancer, cardiovascular, trauma, emergency, pediatrics, and high-risk obstetrics care. 

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About John Muir Health Foundation

The John Muir Health Foundation inspires philanthropy and engagement, strengthening and amplifying community-based health access and wellness initiatives impacting the diverse communities and populations served by John Muir Health. | |

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