Mitchell Anscher appointed chair of VCU Radiation Oncology Department

Mitchell S. Anscher, M.D., has been named professor and chair of the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Radiation Oncology. The prostate cancer expert from Duke University joins the VCU School of Medicine on June 1, 2006.

Anscher, a 1981 graduate of the VCU School of Medicine, will return to his alma mater from the Duke University Medical Center, where he is professor, vice chairman and clinical director for the Department of Radiation Oncology.

Anscher is nationally recognized for his research and clinical programs. He is a fellow of the American College of Radiology and has been named as one of America’s Top Doctors for the past five years. In 2001 he received the Outstanding Medical Alumnus Award from the Medical College of Virginia Alumni Association.

“We are entrusting one of the nation’s premier departments of radiation oncology to a distinguished alumnus,” said Dr. Jerome F. Strauss, dean of the VCU School of Medicine. “Dr. Anscher’s experience in administration, his expertise in the treatment of prostate cancer and his productive research will add additional luster to an already outstanding program.”

Anscher’s research interests include the molecular biology of normal tissue injury after cancer therapy and studying ways to reduce the risk of the side effects of cancer therapy. His clinical expertise is focused on prostate cancer. 

“As one of the better radiation departments in the country, VCU has built a solid foundation in research and clinical care,” Anscher said. “The whole university is on an upswing and I’m looking forward to being part of that.”

He said his immediate goals as department chair are to fill some key positions and expand clinical research initiatives. 

“We look forward to Dr. Anscher’s leadership in advancing the mission of the Department of Radiation Oncology and are pleased to welcome him back home,” said Dr. Sheldon M. Retchin, vice president for VCU health sciences and CEO of the VCU Health System.

As chair, Anscher will head a department of more than 30 radiation oncologists, medical physicists and scientists who work hand-in-hand with VCU Massey Cancer Center interdisciplinary teams to provide customized treatment plans for patients and who conduct major research studies and clinical trials.

Anscher received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in 1977 and a medical degree from the VCU School of Medicine in 1981. He continued post graduate training at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, Conn., and was chief resident in radiation oncology at Duke University Medical Center. 

Anscher joined the faculty at Duke in 1987. He has authored 119 papers in peer review journals, written 13 book chapters and has received numerous awards and honors.

Anscher’s appointment as chair follows a national search to replace Dr. Rupert K.A. Schmidt-Ullrich, who died in December 2004.