The Department of Internal Medicine is pleased to announce that Mohammed Milhem, MBBS, has been appointed Interim Division Director of Hematology, Oncology, and Blood & Marrow Transplantation effective September 1. Dr. Milhem has served as Section Chief of Oncology since 2018, when the division was reorganized. During that time, Dr. Milhem worked very closely and synergistically with Steven Lentz, MD, PhD, to advance all of the missions of the Division. With the recent decision of Dr. Lentz to step down as Section Chief of Hematology, the department will recombine the two sections under one division director. The department is confident that Dr. Milhem will provide outstanding leadership to the entire division. The department has no plans to launch a national search for a permanent Division Director.
In addition to his role as Section Chief, Dr. Milhem also serves as Associate Director for Clinical Research within the University of Iowa Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center. He also holds the Holden Family Chair for Experimental Therapeutics, in which he maintains oversight of all the center’s clinical research activity, mentoring all oncology faculty in clinical trial development. Of particular note, under Dr. Milhem’s leadership, the HCCC was able to maintain safe continuity in about 95% of its ongoing clinical trials throughout this pandemic, while most other medical centers around the country curtailed their activity.
Dr. Milhem joined this department and the University of Iowa in 2007. He earned his medical degree at Jordan University in Amman and completed his residency and two fellowships in hematology-oncology and in bone marrow transplant all at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Since his first arrival and through today, Dr. Milhem has distinguished himself as an outstanding academic physician, launching the HCCC’s sarcoma and melanoma programs, which he still directs today, and has made the cancer center a leader in national sarcoma and melanoma research and care. He is a staunch believer in the power of collaboration and plays a vital role in the development of the clinical trial portfolios of each of the cancer center’s Multidisciplinary Oncology Groups.
As a leader, Dr. Milhem’s curiosity and wisdom drive many of the new initiatives or improvements he spearheads. He has led many efforts to improve clinical trial accrual and regionally has developed the Midwest Sarcoma Trials Partnership with seven other institutions almost a decade ago, as well as the Melanoma Midwest Partnership. This expertise is borne out by the fact that he has single-handedly opened 120 clinical trials since he joined the University of Iowa.
Dr. Milhem’s patient-focused approach, deep empathy, and expertise earned him the Leonard Tow Humanism Award in Medicine from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation in 2018 and the NCI Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award in 2013. Dr. Milhem has provided strong mentorship to faculty in the division, and has overseen an impressive growth in our clinical trials portfolio during his tenure as Section Chief.
Please join me in congratulating and thanking Dr. Milhem for accepting this new role. We know that he will guide this world-class division to even greater heights and more impressive achievements.