Local City of Hope Provost Focuses on Cancer Future

Dr. Steven Rosen
Dr. Steven Rosen

Dr. Steven Rosen, hired three years ago as the provost and chief scientific officer for City of Hope, gives former colleagues in Chicago honest feedback about his current role.
“I tell my friends at Northwestern that I’m working longer hours than I ever worked,” he said. “But I just enjoy every moment of it. I have absolutely no regrets and I find it to be the most stimulating portion of my career.”
A longtime director of Northwestern’s Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Rosen moved to La Cañada Flintridge when he accepted the position at City of Hope, where he also is director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center and Beckman Research Institute.
“I will never go back to the Midwest or the East Coast,” said Rosen, who was raised in New York City but now boasts of being a Dodgers fan. “The weather, the diversity, the incredible spectrum of things to do — and the work is absolutely sensational.”
Rosen is responsible for setting the scientific direction at City of Hope, the private, nonprofit clinical research center, hospital and graduate medical school in Duarte. In addition to seeing patients, he works closely with the institution’s scientists, clinicians and administration to develop cancer treatments — and to swiftly deliver them to patients.
“City of Hope prides itself on being able to provide the finest, state-of-the-art care, but in addition, making the discoveries that benefit all of humanity,” he said. “Very few institutions can do that, but we have the capability to take the discoveries all the way to a patient from the lab. There’s no greater reward.”
Colleague Dr. Ravi Salgia said it was Rosen’s testimony about City of Hope’s unique capabilities helped attract him to the place from the University of Chicago. He now serves as the chair of medical oncology.
He said in Chicago he often crossed paths with Rosen, renowned well beyond the city. Now, he’s happy to be working together with him.
“He really told me a lot of the details, how City of Hope really integrates the science with the medicine, and about the ability to be able to have impacts on our patient care much faster,” Salgia said.
Rosen is at the forefront of making that happen, Salgia said.
“Dr. Rosen, he’s phenomenal,” he said. “He’s very collegial, very comprehensive. He’s absolutely brilliant; he’s a people person, and incredibly smart.”
Rosen’s work illustrates that. A specialist in blood cancers, he has published more than 400 original reports, editorials, books and book chapters and has had research funded by the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.
He’s also received the Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award from Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the Man of Distinction Award from the Israel Cancer Research Fund.
“Dr. Rosen’s experience and vision will create the environment necessary to accelerate the pace of meaningful discoveries that extend both quality and length of life,” City of Hope CEO Robert Stone said when Rosen’s hiring was announced in January 2015.
Since he has gotten started, Rosen has been eager to share how much he’s enjoying his time there, including seeing the formation of a new alliance with the Translational Genomics Research Institute to help accelerate genomic discoveries into clinical trials, advance care and improve outcomes.
“There are unique aspects of just about every cancer,” Rosen said. “And the future of cancer as we go forward, in terms of prevention, is knowing the genetic makeup of an individual. It’s been a continued evolution, with major breakthroughs in the last five years, of specific new treatments that didn’t historically exist.”
Rosen said he’s been committed to advancing cancer treatments since he was in medical school.
“One of my closest childhood friends lost a leg to bone sarcoma and it had a profound effect on me,” Rosen said. “At the time oncology was in its infancy, but two of the physicians I most admired were specialists on blood disease, so when I finished my training in internal medicine, I decided to go into oncology.”
He also met his wife, Candice, in medical school. She was in nursing school then and has since published a pair of books, “The Pancreatic Oath” and “The Pancreatic Oath Journal,” which chronicle what she’s coined, the “Data Driven Diet.”
Rosen said they’re right at home in LCF, which isn’t so far from his mother and sister who live in La Jolla. His children, three daughters and a son, are spread out between here and London.
“It’s a dream place to have your home here,” Rosen said. “Hopefully I’ll get to meet many more of my neighbors out walking or at the restaurants. I love living in La Cañada.”
And he loves his job: “City of Hope is a great gem of the nation.”

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