Community Health Network CEO Bryan Mills.

Community Health Network in Indianapolis is growing its relationship with Houston-based MD Anderson Cancer Center to create what it calls a comprehensive clinical and research cancer program collaboration in central Indiana. Now known as Community Health Network MD Anderson Cancer Center, the program makes the health system just the sixth official partner with MD Anderson in the country and the first in the Midwest. Community Chief Executive Officer Bryan Mills calls the partnership a “message of hope” for Hoosiers diagnosed with cancer.

During a news conference this morning, Mills says the health system will be fully integrated with MD Anderson’s treatment and research efforts.

“We’re working arm in arm with them. We’re taking their science, their know-how, their research that amazingly they want to share with people like us to make sure that the patients here can receive the same care as the best place in the world, locally,” said Mills. “So with this today, not only do we have a new name, but we embrace their aspiration to make cancer history.”

(video courtesy of Community Health Network/YouTube)

Previously, Community Health had been a certified member of the MD Anderson Cancer network for nine years. The health system says the official partnership will be in effect at its North, East and South campuses, as well as satellite centers in Anderson and Kokomo.

The health system says becoming an official partner will provide eligible patients access to innovative cancer treatments through select clinical trials and research studies in addition to peer-to-peer access for Community physicians to MD Anderson experts.

Dr. Peter Pisters, president of MD Anderson, says the organization has been impressed with Community’s work over the past decade.

“We’re so pleased to see Community identified as a partner member in our cancer network; it’s the first member partner that we’ve added in six years and that’s very, very significant,” Pisters said. “This partnership will really strengthen the circle of support for cancer patients throughout central Indiana. It will benefit Hoosiers in ways that we’ve not seen before…and it will promote coordinated, collaborative research enabling us to bring cutting-edge treatments here to Indianapolis.”

Community says all of its sites will use multidisciplinary teams to deliver medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgery, pathology, diagnostic imaging and other clinical services.

MD Anderson was recently ranked the No. 1 hospital for cancer care by U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” survey.