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Dickens Named Interim Division Director for Hematology/Oncology

It is with mixed emotions that I announce Dr. Yatin Vyas, Division Director of Hematology/Oncology, has accepted the role of Chair of Pediatrics at Penn State University as of November 1, 2021. His last day with the University of Iowa will be October 29, 2021. 

Dr. Vyas has led the division of Hematology/Oncology since June 2013, and has made the division a top-notch program. Under his purview, the Stead Family Children’s Hospital has become a beacon of excellence for pediatric cancer care. He has also served the Department as Vice Chair of Research, and leader of the Program in Pediatric Research (PPR). We will miss Dr. Vyas and his leadership, and we wish him well in his new role at Penn State.

To assist in setting up Dr. Vyas for success in his new role, and to allow for a smooth transition of leadership in the Division, it is my pleasure to announce Dr. David Dickens as Interim Division Director of Hematology/Oncology, effective today, September 14, 2021, as the search for a permanent Division Director commences. Dr. Dickens will oversee the Division during this transition, will continue to grow the Division during the interim, and will be an active member of the search committee for the permanent Division Director.

Dr. Dickens received his BS in 1992 from Oberlin College, his medical degree from Upstate Medical University in Syracuse in 1996, and completed pediatric residency training in 1999 from Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Subsequently, he completed pediatric fellowship training in hematology/oncology from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Upon graduation in 2002, Dr. Dickens became Clinical Assistant Professor at Michigan State University, and a staff pediatrician, Assistant Director of Clinical Services for Pediatric Hematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplantation at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital until 2019.

Dr. Dickens has been the Oncology Clinical Director since his arrival to Iowa in February 2019. He has co-chaired national working groups aimed at improving care and outcomes for adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer patients, and his research interests include being Study Chair for a multi-institutional CCDR IMPACT study, and being site investigator for the National Pediatric Oncology COVID-19 Case Registry. His scholarly work recently has been focused on reducing lumbar punctures in pediatric patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, as well as understanding barriers to pediatric oncologist engagement and accrual to clinical trials in National Cancer Institute-designated community oncology research programs. 

He currently serves on multiple hospital committees, and his state and national service includes being the Federal Affairs Office Liaison for the Alliance for Childhood Cancer through the AAP; the Executive Committee of the Section of Hematology and Oncology of the American Academy of Pediatrics; Co-Chair of the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium AYA Clinical Trial Working Group; and committee member of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health of the Alliance for Childhood Cancer. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Dickens to his new role!

Thank you for your service and care you’ve put into leading the pediatric Hematology/Oncology division, Dr. Vyas. We look forward to your many coming successes.

Alexander G. Bassuk, MD, PhD (he/him/they)
Professor and Chair | University of Iowa Stead Family Department of Pediatrics
Joel and Jay Stead Chair for Leadership in Children's Medicine | University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine
Physician-in-Chief | University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital

Tuesday, September 14, 2021