Mississippi's Lung Cancer Hero

Conference | <b>Lung Cancer Heroes</b>

Dr. Pierre de Delva works tirelessly to bring better outcomes to patients with lung cancer who live in Mississippi — a state that traditionally has poor lung cancer outcomes.

I have the privilege and honor of nominating Dr. Pierre de Delva as a Lung Cancer Hero®.

De Delva is the Section Chief of General Thoracic Surgery at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) and the UMMC Cancer Institute.

De Delva practices in a state with some of the poorest lung cancer outcomes in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and serves at the academic medical center that is both the lone medical school and safety net hospital in Mississippi. He holds several leadership positions at the Cancer Institute, is the former State Chair of the Commission on Cancer and a member of the Institutional Review Board that reviews research.

He is the associate program director of the cardiothoracic fellowship program and has received numerous teaching awards throughout his career. De Delva’s research interests include outcomes and quality improvement in thoracic surgery; health disparities in cancer; and development of biologic tracheal substitutes. He also represents the University of Mississippi Medical Center on the National Lung Cancer Roundtable.

De Delva has worked tirelessly to build an interdisciplinary thoracic cancer care team at UMMC to guide patients with lung cancers. Additionally, he has worked to solidify the University’s lung cancer screening program and increase smoking cessation programs throughout the state.

In 2021, de Delva was an instrumental partner in helping lead the American Cancer Society’s Lung Cancer Biomarker ECHO Pilot Project in Mississippi. This pilot project utilized the project ECHO Model within three states concurrently to build a learning community where multi-disciplinary thoracic cancer care teams gained knowledge and confidence to address the overlapping and common barriers that exist within their respective cancer teams and institutions and equipped them to implement comprehensive biomarker testing in non-small cell lung cancer.

Moreover, under de Delva’s leadership, the project fostered collaboration to address the more common barriers related to biomarker testing within Mississippi that reflected our unique cultural, geographic and payer landscape. He volunteered countless hours by sharing his expertise as the faculty lead and facilitator of this project.

The time and effort he devoted to the Lung Cancer Biomarker ECHO project is immeasurable.

Under Dr. de Delva’s leadership, almost every hospital treating cancer patients in Mississippi joined the pilot with representation from almost ninety multi-disciplinary thoracic clinicians.

The biomarker pilot has the downstream potential to impact the course of cancer care for nearly all the 2,810 Mississippians estimated by the American Cancer Society to be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2022.

When the Lung Cancer Biomarker ECHO project ended in January of 2022, de Delva then transitioned into the inaugural chair of the newly formed Mississippi Lung Cancer Roundtable. Under his leadership, the MS Lung Cancer Roundtable is committed to reducing the incidence, impact and mortality of lung cancer in MS.

De Delva is working with the American Cancer Society in Mississippi to develop a collaborative of patients, caregivers, cancer centers and other stakeholders that will make Mississippi a leader in the prevention, early detection, and care of lung cancer. In 2021, the American Cancer Society recognized De Delva as our Cancer Control Partner of the Year.

Outside of his volunteer work on the ECHO Project and the Mississippi Lung Cancer Roundtable, de Delva’s main priority is his patients and giving them the best care possible. He is genuine, compassionate and an outstanding physician.

Mississippi is lucky to have him, and he will always be a lung cancer hero in our eyes.

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