Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

UM/Sylvester Announces New Board of Governors’ Chair


The University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center is pleased to announce that Joan B. Scheiner has accepted the position of chair of the Board of Governors effective March 21. Scheiner succeeds Joaquin F. Blaya, who has served as the Board’s chair since 2000.

Scheiner first came to UM/Sylvester in 1996 when she was diagnosed with metastatic soft tissue sarcoma. Physicians at the cancer center helped her beat her cancer, and in 2001 Scheiner realized she wanted to give back to the institution that saved her life. She began by becoming a donor and volunteer and eventually became chair of UM/Sylvester’s Development Committee and co-chair of the cancer center’s five-year, $137 million capital campaign. She has served as a member of the UM/Sylvester Board of Governors since 2004 and in 2005 she became a Grand Founder.

Having experienced UM/Sylvester as a patient, Scheiner calls it “a jewel of an institution – a complete healing facility, that through research, changes so much of what patients have to go through.” She knows first-hand that small improvements made possible through research, like changes that dramatically reduce the time it takes to perform a scanning procedure, are tremendous strides for patients. “We’re all focused on curing cancer, but when you’re a patient, every little step along the way is huge.”

A life-long community advocate, Scheiner has successfully led many not-for-profit organizations as both a professional and a volunteer. In Miami-Dade, Scheiner has served as a member of the UM/Sylvester Founders Committee, as vice chair of the Board of Ransom Everglades School, development chair for Beth Am Day School, and as a member of the major gift committee for Miami Children’s Hospital and United Way.

Scheiner notes, “I’m very pleased to be able to serve as chair of the board, and with my fellow board members I hope to advance the outstanding vision of UM/Sylvester.” She adds, “Sylvester is a relatively young institution, so for me to come into a place and become a builder is an incredible opportunity.”

Recognized as one of the most influential Hispanic businessmen in the country and a legend in the media industry, outgoing chair Blaya is a visionary, a builder, and a creator. Blaya has long been active in national and local civic affairs. He serves on the boards of the University of Miami, the Smithsonian Institute, and the National Hispanic Scholarship Fund. In 2002, he received the American Institute for Public Service’s Lifetime Achievement Jefferson Award, the Robert C. Maynard Legend Award, and the U.S. Hispanic Hero Award. Additionally, he is the recipient of the prestigious Theodor Herzl Award for Hope and Tolerance, given by the country of Israel.

“I am delighted that Joan has agreed to serve as Board chair,” says W. Jarrard Goodwin, M.D., F.A.C.S., UM/Sylvester Director. “Her commitment and enthusiasm for our institution’s mission is outstanding.” Goodwin adds, “Of course without Joaquin Blaya’s remarkable leadership over the past seven years we wouldn’t be where we are today. I am especially grateful to him for his many contributions.”

UM/Sylvester opened in 1992 to provide comprehensive cancer services and today serves as the hub for cancer-related research, diagnosis, and treatment at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. UM/Sylvester handles nearly 1,600 inpatient admissions annually, performs 3,000 surgical procedures, and treats 3,000 new cancer patients. All UM/Sylvester physicians are on the faculty of the Miller School of Medicine, South Florida’s only academic medical center. In addition, UM/Sylvester physicians and scientists are engaged in more than 250 clinical trials and receive more than $30 million annually in research grants. UM/Sylvester at Deerfield Beach opened in 2003 to better meet the needs of residents of Broward and Palm Beach counties. This 10,000 square-foot facility at I-95 and S.W. 10th Street offers appointments with physicians from six cancer specialties, complementary therapies from the Courtelis Center, and education and outreach events.

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