Children's names new director of cancer program

August 15, 2011

Children’s has named Dr. Stephen X. Skapek director of the hospital’s nationally ranked Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.

Skapek also becomes the director of UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Division, where he holds the Children’s Cancer Fund Distinguished Professorship in Pediatric Oncology Research.

“I came to Children's Medical Center and UT Southwestern because I recognized the many exceptional aspects of the hospital and medical school – both already have national reputations as great institutions,” said Skapek, who comes from the University of Chicago. “It was also clear to me that there was a commitment from leaders at both institutions to strive for even greater excellence as we build on the current strengths to develop even stronger programs for children with cancer and blood diseases.”

World-renowned Dr. George Buchanan, who has led the center since 1980, will remain a senior faculty member in the department and continue caring for patients with sickle cell disease.

Doctors and staff members in the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders program diagnose and manage children with cancers and disorders involving the blood. As the largest program of its kind in North Texas and across the middle section of the United States, the center ranked 14th among all childhood cancer programs, according to U.S. News & World Report this year.

Dr. Skapek received his Bachelor of Arts and doctorate degrees from Duke University and completed his pediatric residency and training in the U.S. Air Force at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio. He then completed hematology-oncology fellowship training at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children’s Hospital in Boston.

After working as fellow in the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at The Harvard Medical School, Skapek left Boston and returned to Wilford Hall to complete obligated service in the U.S. Air Force. There he initiated an independent research career as he was recruited to the faculty at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. In 2007, he was recruited to the University of Chicago, where he had played a major role for the formal training program in pediatric hematology-oncology.