Dr. Khandekar plaque at the Kellogg Cancer Center

Honoring a Pioneer in Cancer Care 

Almost 50 years ago, you couldn’t find a cancer care-focused hospital in the North Shore region. That changed when Janardan D. Khandekar, MD, came to Endeavor Health Evanston Hospital (then called Evanston Hospital). 

“When I started here, the cancer program was only in two rooms for research and clinical care, and we had to help with pushing specimen carts from room to room,” said Dr. Khandekar, reflecting on those early days.

“But we were always focused on one thing, to provide the best possible care to our patients in a compassionate way.”

Dr. Khandekar was fortunate to be at the helm of building the NorthShore Hospitals’ cancer care program and oversaw the establishment of the Kellogg Cancer Center in 1981. Since that time of pioneering cancer care at Evanston Hospital, Dr. Khandekar has touched thousands of patients’ lives – nearly 14,000 – directly and indirectly, and continues to support the Kellogg Cancer Center in his retirement as a special consultant. 

Today, the Kellogg Cancer Center has expanded to include programs and services at Endeavor Health Swedish Hospital and serves more than 4,800 new patients yearly, with a staff of over 300 care team members and 50 physicians. Clinical trials and other research efforts have been integrated into the fabric of the cancer program.

In recognition of his many decades of dedicated work in the field of oncology and personalized medicine, leadership from Endeavor Health dedicated a Patient Education Room to Dr. Khandekar, located in the Kellogg Cancer Center lobby at Evanston Hospital. A gathering on April 11 unveiled the commemorative plaque and celebrated this happy occasion with Dr. Khandekar, along with his many current and former colleagues and family members.

Dr. Khandekar’s work over the past few decades has been transformational for cancer care at Endeavor Health and the Kellogg Cancer Center,” said Bruce Brockstein, MD, Medical Director of the Kellogg Cancer Center, Division Head of Hematology/Oncology, and Kellogg-Scanlon Chair of Oncology.

“He transformed cancer care from a one physician operation to the expansive, comprehensive subspecialty-based multidisciplinary program that it is today—an academic modeled cancer program in a community cancer center,” Dr. Brockstein continued.

A legendary leader at NorthShore Hospitals 

Dr. Khandekar has brought his compassion, expertise and commitment to the NorthShore Hospitals for more than four decades. 

He was the founding Head of the Division of Medical Oncology and was appointed Director of the Kellogg Cancer Center and Kellogg-Scanlon endowed chair. During his tenure as Chairman of the Department of Medicine at NorthShore Hospitals and Professor of Medicine, the department enjoyed an unprecedented level of growth. He established new divisions and programs and recruited new faculty members and researchers. During his tenure as department chair, Dr. Khandekar transformed the Department of Medicine into a modern, full service, academic-modeled department in the North Shore region. 

He also spearheaded and led the development of the very well-established personalized medicine program throughout NorthShore Hospitals, and continues seeing patients in the Center for Medical Genetics.

Dr. Khandekar has also shaped the next generation of physicians by training more than 500 residents and many fellows. In addition, he sponsored training 12 physicians from India in oncology through a fellowship established in memory of his father. 

From making house calls to taking a holistic approach to caring for the whole family, Dr. Khandekar’s compassion as a caregiver has touched the lives of thousands of patients and families. Former patients, friends and colleagues established the Janardan D. Khandekar, MD Chair of Personalized Medicine in Dr. Khandekar’s honor. The chair celebrates his extraordinary achievement in advancing science, scholarship and human health.

I came here because of Dr. Khandekar’s vision, and it’s an honor to carry the name of the individual who started this vision,” said the inaugural chair holder of the Janardan D. Khandekar, MD Chair of Personalized Medicine, Peter Hulick MD, director of the Mark R. Neaman Center for Personalized Medicine.

In addition to the endowed chair, a dedicated fund was established in Dr. Khandekar’s name to provide crucial support to spark further innovation in patient care, research and education, expanding the boundaries of knowledge at Endeavor Health and beyond. Today, the Janardan D. Khandekar, MD, Personalized Medicine Innovation Fund supports innovation at Endeavor Health in a way that makes its namesake proud.

Dr. Khandekar’s presence is felt by each and every health care team member who carries on his example of excellence in compassionate patient care. 

“Dr. Khandekar recruited me to work here more than twenty years ago, and mentored me as an oncologist and as a leader. I hope I can contribute a small fraction of what he has in his many years here,” said Dr. Brockstein.

These efforts would not be possible without philanthropic support. We are powered by the generosity of donors who directly impact our ability to deliver on our commitment to community-connected care.