Valerae O. Lewis, MD, has been named Chair of Orthopaedic Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Lewis has been a faculty member at MD Anderson for 15 years, serving in a variety of roles. The unit she will lead, the Department of Orthopaedic Oncology, is a new department at MD Anderson, created within the Division of Surgery in 2014. She is the first woman to chair an orthopaedic department at a freestanding cancer center and in The University of Texas System.
Dr. Lewis is best recognized for her expertise in the complex surgical management of pelvic sarcoma and limb salvage for the pediatric patient. Her past research has investigated the gene functions tied to osteosarcoma and the development of medications that might interrupt this process.
Service to MD Anderson
Dr. Lewis joined MD Anderson in 2000. She has led MD Anderson’s orthopaedic oncology efforts since 2006, first as Section Chief ad interim and then as Section Chief since 2008. She has served as Department Chair ad interim since September 2014. For more than 10 years, she also has served on the orthopaedic faculty at UTHealth and the Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Lewis was named holder of the Dr. John Murray Professorship in Orthopaedic Oncology in 2010.
MD Anderson’s orthopaedic oncology group is the largest in the United States, made possible through Dr. Lewis’ successful recruitment efforts, which expanded the department from two to six faculty members. The department is renowned for its expertise in saving limbs impacted by cancer, the treatment of metastatic diseases, and the management of pelvic and spinal sarcoma patients.
In addition to Dr. Lewis’ clinical efforts, she has focused on enhancing safety and improving patient outcomes. Her efforts also have helped improve efficiency and increased access to MD Anderson’s orthopaedic clinical services. She has also played a major role in educational efforts at MD Anderson and within her field. Since 2002, she has served as Director of MD Anderson’s Musculoskeletal Oncology Fellowship Program.
Dr. Lewis worked with colleagues in the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society to establish the educational standards for musculoskeletal oncology fellowships. Through the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, she has helped shape educational opportunities for orthopaedic surgeons in the United States. Dr. Lewis has served a pivotal role in developing a curriculum to facilitate culturally competent care. ■