Health Care and Technology

Spectrum developing areas first BMT program

September 9, 2012
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West Michigan adults in need of a blood and marrow transplant will soon be able to stay closer to home for the time-consuming procedure.

Spectrum Health is in the process of establishing the fourth adult BMT program in the state, but the only adult program of its kind in the western half of Michigan.

Spectrum officials said Stephanie F. Williams, M.D., has joined Spectrum Health Medical Group as division chief of the program.

Williams has more than 20 years in clinical and faculty experience with hematology/oncology and bone marrow transplant programs. She recently served as president of Hematology Oncology Associates of Illinois and medical director of its stem cell transplant program.

“We are very pleased to have someone of Stephanie Williams’ caliber here to provide experienced leadership as we make blood and marrow transplants available to adults on this side of the state,” said Matt Van Vranken, executive vice president, Spectrum Health Delivery System. “Not having a program nearby interrupted the continuity of care for our BMT patients and was a burden to both patients and their families in terms of cost, time, travel and support.”

Van Vranken said Williams will spend the next few months building a multidisciplinary team that will evaluate adult recipients for blood and marrow transplantation, as well as provide care before, during and after transplant. The team will focus first on doing transplants for patients with lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma and myelodysplastic syndrome.

“Our goal is to build a strong team that becomes not only the regional but also a national leader in blood and marrow transplants,” said Williams, who expects that Spectrum Health will see its first adult BMT patient late in the fall.

While this is the first adult program in the area, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital has been offering blood and marrow transplants for several years. The pediatric BMT program, under the direction of Aly Abdel-Mageed, M.D., and Ulrich Duffner, M.D., is one of three in Michigan and is also the only program of its type in the western half of the state.

Williams is board certified in medical oncology and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. She earned her undergraduate and medical degree from the University of Chicago. She completed her internship at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, her residency in internal medicine at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, and a fellowship in hematology/oncology at the University of Chicago Medical Center.

Spectrum Health is comprised of nine hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, as well as 190 other service sites. It also includes Spectrum Health Medical Group, West Michigan Heart and Priority Health, and is West Michigan’s largest employer with more than 18,000 employees.

The organization’s latest fiscal report indicated that Spectrum provided $176.5 million in “community benefit” during its 2011 fiscal year.

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