Surgeon-Scientist Fights Prostate Cancer

From left: Ronald Chez, Dr. Brian Helfand and
Richard Melman

NorthShore has named Brian T. Helfand, MD, PhD, as the Ronald L. Chez Family and Richard Melman Family Chair of Prostate Cancer, an endowed chair generously gifted by local philanthropists Ronald Chez, Richard Melman and their families in 2007. An endowed chair represents the highest level of prestige at academic medical institutions and honors excellence in care, research and medical education. Dr. Helfand—who assumed the chair effective June 1, 2018—is the second chair holder, following Charles “Chaz” Brendler, MD, who recently retired as Vice Chair of Research and Development in the Department of Surgery at NorthShore.

Dr. Helfand joined NorthShore in 2012 after completing his medical and doctoral degrees, as well as a residency and fellowship in urologic oncology, at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Today, Dr. Helfand serves as NorthShore’s Division Chief of Urology and Director of the John and Carol Walter Center for Urological Health. In addition, he is Clinical Director of the Program for Personalized Cancer Care at NorthShore Research Institute and holds an academic appointment at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

A highly respected surgeon-scientist, Dr. Helfand has achieved an international reputation for his research achievements in prostate cancer genetics. His research has direct translational applications to his clinical focus: helping men at high risk of prostate cancer to live longer, healthier lives through personalized prevention and treatment. Dr. Helfand has contributed to more than 130 published research papers and co-authored eight book chapters. He has been invited to present his work nationally and internationally.

“Dr. Helfand has proven himself to be an outstanding leader, clinician and scientist,” said Mark Talamonti, MD, Chairman of the Department of Surgery and the Stanton and Margaret Rogers Palmer Chair of Surgery. “This chair is a testament to his dedication to our patients and advancing the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer, which remains the number one cancer risk to men across the world.”

Ronald Chez and Richard Melman are both Chicago-based philanthropists who originally established this chair in honor of Dr. Chaz Brendler. Mr. Chez—an investor and film producer—said, “As a private investor, I always look closely at how organizations plan to achieve continued value through their succession planning. Clearly, Dr. Helfand has the research talent and leadership skills to carry on the quality and innovation Dr. Brendler established.”

Mr. Melman is founder and chairman of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, an independent, family-owned restaurant group based in Chicago. He added, “From my point of view, customer experience is everything—and I’m so pleased that an individual with such an exceptional commitment to personalized, patient-centered care has been appointed to this chair. He has my full support and endorsement.”

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