Athens, OH,
14:00 PM

OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital Becomes Certified Member of MD Anderson Cancer Network®

Certification Brings World-Renowned Expertise to the Community

OhioHealth announced today that OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital has become a certified member of MD Anderson Cancer Network®, a program of MD Anderson Cancer Center, a world-renowned leader in cancer care.

“Certification at O’Bleness will help advance cancer care in the community while still keeping that care local for patients and their families,” said Praveen Dubey, MD, medical director and OhioHealth system vice president, cancer services. “This certification creates a new standard of cancer care for southeastern Ohio.”

David D. Howell, Jr., MD, radiation oncologist, was also certified by the network. Dr. Howell joins medical oncologists Shakir Sarwar, MD and Anitha Nallari, MD, who were previously certified.

MD Anderson is one of the nation’s original three Comprehensive Cancer Centers, pioneering the National Cancer Institute guidelines that set the standard of cancer care today.

MD Anderson Cancer Center is currently ranked by US News & World Report’s annual “Best Hospitals” survey as the top in cancer care — and No. 1 for 14 of the past 17 years. Most importantly, O’Bleness will now have access to MD Anderson’s evidence-based care guidelines.

“As OhioHealth hospitals and physicians are certified, there is new hope for cancer patients,” said Dubey. “As a certified member, our physicians in Athens will now be tied together through clinical protocols and treatment plans, as well as tumor boards and cancer committees. This relationship with MD Anderson Cancer Network serves as not only a validation of the exceptional care that we’re currently providing, but gives us that added edge and resource should a patient have an especially complex cancer. In those cases, we’ll be able to leverage our relationship with our Houston colleagues to ensure those patients are receiving optimal care.”

As a new member of MD Anderson Cancer Network, O’Bleness is now part of a best practices and quality improvement program. The program offers certified OhioHealth hospitals and their associated cancer specialists – also certified by MD Anderson’s Cancer Network -- access to MD Anderson guidelines for treatment planning and improving the quality of cancer care provided.

“MD Anderson is known worldwide for its cancer care and OhioHealth has a strong reputation for treating cancer with a high-touch, patient-centered approach,” said Mark Seckinger, president, O’Bleness. “We’re thrilled about this relationship and how it’s moved forward to provide this care right here in Athens and surrounding communities. It’s a very exciting time for our hospital and our cancer patients, and this is really what it’s all about - the patient.”

Two OhioHealth hospitals – OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital and OhioHealth Grant Medical Center – became certified members in September 2014. In 2015, OhioHealth Doctors Hospital, OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital, OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital and OhioHealth Marion General Hospital became certified members. In 2016, OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital became a certified member. Now 80 affiliated physicians – medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and surgical oncologists – are now officially certified by MD Anderson Cancer Network. At this time there are no other plans for additional OhioHealth hospitals to become certified.

About OhioHealth

OhioHealth is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit, charitable, healthcare outreach of the United Methodist Church.

Based in Columbus, Ohio, OhioHealth has been recognized as one of the top five large health systems in America by Truven Health Analytics, an honor it has received six times. It is also recognized by FORTUNE as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” and has been for 12 years in a row, 2007-2018.

Serving its communities since 1891, it is a family of 29,000 associates, physicians and volunteers, and a network of 11 hospitals, 200+ ambulatory sites, hospice, home-health, medical equipment and other health services spanning a 47-county area

OhioHealth hospitals include OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, OhioHealth Doctors Hospital, OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital, OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital, OhioHealth Grove City Methodist Hospital, OhioHealth Hardin Memorial Hospital, OhioHealth Marion General Hospital, OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital, OhioHealth Shelby Hospital and OhioHealth Grove City Methodist Hospital. For more information, please visit our website at

About MD Anderson Cancer Network

MD Anderson Cancer Network® is a program of MD Anderson Cancer Center. It’s designed to advance the institution’s mission of eliminating cancer by delivering MD Anderson expertise to community health providers. The network includes mission-aligned hospitals and health care systems across the United States committed to elevating the quality of care in their communities. Hospitals have direct access to MD Anderson clinical guidelines and best practices through certified membership in the network.