Nalitt Cancer Institute


In cancer care, the word multi-disciplinary has a special meaning. It refers to the coordinated, comprehensive approach to diagnosing and treating illness. It refers to the blend of high technology with skilled professionals to give personalized care. It refers to dedicated, patient-centered services in the same environment as ground-breaking research.

The core of the Institute is its people, a dedicated team of physicians, nurses, allied health professionals, and support staff. The physicians are specially selected for their experience and range of expert knowledge. They, in turn, have sought out the Institute because it encourages and supports their excellence. Each is a board-certified faculty member, qualified to train resident physicians, medical students and fellows. The center has just been approved to train young physicians who will be specialists in Hematology/Oncology after completion of their medical training.

Because cancer treatment usually involves several disciplines of care -- surgery, chemotherapy and radiation -- the Institute serves as the hub for the comprehensive care program. Within its three-story facility, in tandem with the technology and speciality services of the main hospital building, the Institute provides a structure for care that gives new meaning to the word comprehensive:

  • An extensive outpatient treatment area.
  • A dedicated service for pediatric care.
  • Examination and consultation rooms.
  • A 60-seat conference center.
  • Laboratory services, including clinical pathology, research, cytogenetics and flow cytometry.
  • A dedicated on-site pharmacy.
  • A psychiatric oncology service.
  • A Cancer Hotline number to give patients and public alike access to cancer information.
  • A nutritional service that is an active participant in both treating and preventing the disease.
  • A social work program to help patients and their families confront the fears and anxieties of cancer.
  • Support groups and patient education programs for those living with cancer.
  • Radiation oncology, which provides a full range of therapeutic services, and three powerful linear accelerators.
  • A diagnostic imaging department which is physically attached to the center that includes CAT scan, low-dose mammography approved by the American College of Radiology, stereotactic fine needle biopsy, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), nuclear imaging, and diagnostic radiology.
  • A cytopheresis and plasmaphersis unit to collect platelets and peripheral stem cells to support the Institute's autologus bone marrow transplantation program and treat both malignant and benign disorders.
  • A fine-needle breast biopsy facility that can often spare a patient an extensive surgical diagnostic procedure. 
Yet, the Institute operates much like a private physician's practice -- warm, friendly and personal -- because its orientation is the individual patient.

Among the Institute's alliances are the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, National Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project(NSABP), and Cancer and Leukemia Group B(CALGB). University Hospital is also allied with North Shore-LIJ Health System and the Center for Molecular Medicine & Immunology.


Commission on Cancer Surgical  Liaison 
Cynara Coomer, MD, Director  

Breast Surgery 
Cynara Coomer, MD, Director 

Gynecologic Oncology 
Mitchell A. Maiman, MD, Director 

Laboratory Services 
Henry Simpkins, MD, PhD, Director 

Lung Cancer Program 
Michael Castellano, MD, Director 

Medical Nutrition 
Rama Z. Koslowe, MD, Director 

Medical Oncology & Hematology 
Frank Forte, MD, Director
Qun Dai, MD, PhD

Meekoo Dhar, MD

Asma Dilawari, MD

Philip Friscia, MD

Marcel Odaimi, MD

Gupta Shilpi, MD

Terenig O. Terjanian, MD           

Pediatric Oncology 
Sarah Vaiselbuh, MD, Director 

Prostate Cancer Program
Nicholas Karanikolas, MD 

Psychiatric Oncology 
Robert J. Walter, MD Director 

Radiation Oncology

Phillip M. Vigneri, DO, FACRO, Director 

Rehabilitation Medicine 
Jeffrey B. Weinberg, MD, Director 

Thoracic Surgery 
Joseph T. McGinn, MD, Director 


Administrative Director, Nalitt Institute 
Paula M. McAvoy, RN, MPA, OCN, CHPN 

Vice President 
Dianne Gonzalez, RN

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