A $1 million gift in 2015 from the Tarble Foundation established the Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program endowment at the Saint John’s Cancer Institute. The accredited Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program, which is one of the country’s largest and longest-running, helps fulfill the Institute’s mission of training the next generation of cancer surgeons. The program is led by Leland Foshag, M.D., professor of surgical oncology at the Saint John’s Cancer Institute. Long considered one of the nation’s most elite surgical oncology training programs, it continues to set the standard for multidisciplinary training.

The program consists of a two year senior clinical fellowship in surgical oncology, with an optional third year in basic science research. The multi-campus program covers technical operative skills in cancer surgery, multidisciplinary aspects of clinical surgical oncology, skills to become an academic clinical scientist, clinical translational research that links patient care and laboratory studies, and laboratory basic science research that can be applied to the clinic. Physicians selected for the program are encouraged to discover new surgical and nonsurgical cancer treatments and strategies. They leave the Institute with the skills and training necessary to establish their own laboratories and research programs.

“A gift to the Saint John’s Cancer Institute surgical oncology fellowship endowment will result in future generations of fellows having careers that make a substantial impact in the fight against cancer,” says Jan Tarble, director of the Tarble Foundation. The program’s success is reflected by the many graduates who have become department chairs or division chiefs of surgical oncology at institutions around the country. The 160 graduates of the program have emerged as leaders in surgical oncology. More than 80% have become university professors, deans or department chairs. The Institute’s program was among the first in the nation to be accredited, in 2013, by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education in complex general surgical oncology. The Institute faculty is deeply grateful to the Tarble Foundation for the gift and for recognizing the importance of a robust Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program, says Dr. Foshag, who was a colleague of the late Donald L. Morton, M.D., who is the founder of the Institute’ fellowship program.

The Tarble family has been a loyal friend to Saint John’s Health Center for more than 60 years. The family’s foundation has made numerous charitable donations to Saint John’s including naming the Health Center’s beautiful Tarble Atrium after Pat and Newt Tarble. In 2012, the Tarble Foundation received the Spirit of Saint John’s Award, and the family’s legacy with the hospital lives on through their daughter, Jan who leads the foundation.

“The Tarble Foundation’s generosity allows us to continue to train talented surgeons in the most innovative and complex surgical methods. Educating the next generation of oncology surgeons ensures that the work we do at the Institute has a continuing influence around the world.”

Dr. Leland Foshag

Leland Foshag, M.D., professor of surgical oncology at the Saint John’s Cancer Institute