Meet the New Director of Colorado State University’s Flint Animal Cancer Center:
Dr. Rodney Page
Colorado State University's Flint Animal Cancer Center welcomed Dr. Rodney Page as its new director on July 1st, 2010. Dr. Stephen Withrow, the former director and founder of the center, has assumed the title of associate director and will work with Dr. Page over the next three years to transition leadership until Dr. Withrow retires.
Dr. Page, a veterinarian and an alumnus of CSU's College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (Class of 1981), also holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Master of Science in physiology from Georgetown University Medical School in Washington, D.C. Dr. Page comes to CSU from Cornell University where he was the founding director of the Sprecher Institute for Comparative Cancer Research and served as the chair for the Department of Clinical Sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Prior to that, he spent 15 years with North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine where, in collaboration with other research centers, he helped to establish one of the first comparative veterinary oncology programs. After earning his DVM from CSU, Dr. Page served a three-year residency in clinical oncology at the esteemed Animal Medical Center in New York City.
"What could be better than coming full circle?" said Dr. Withrow, who has known Dr. Page throughout his career, first as a veterinary student and then as a colleague. "He acquired the basics here at CSU, became a seasoned clinician at the AMC, learned research techniques at North Carolina State, honed his administrative skills at Cornell, and has now come home again to CSU."
Dr. Page's knowledge of Colorado is more than that of a CSU alumnus, he is a third-generation Coloradoan whose family on both sides came to the state as homesteaders. "It is a homecoming, both personally and professionally," Dr. Page acknowledged. "I grew up in Boulder, Colo., and I graduated from Boulder High School, the same high school from which my parents graduated. As a kid, I hiked, backpacked, and camped all over this state with my family, learning how to appreciate the outdoors."
After graduating from CU-Boulder with a chemistry degree and a plan for a career in human medicine, Dr. Page earned an M.S. at Georgetown University Medical School in Washington, D.C. Deciding that veterinary medicine was more interesting, he applied for and was accepted into Colorado State's veterinary program, graduating with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1981.
"I thought I was going to be a small-animal practitioner, somewhere up in the mountains of Colorado," Dr. Page recalls. "But, you know, the decisions you make in your life are often influenced by special people who cross your path. While at CSU, I had the good fortune to work and study with some very talented professionals such as Dr. Steve Withrow, Dr. Ed Gillette, and others who encouraged me to pursue additional training in cancer medicine."
Following that advice, Dr. Page accepted a residency in medical oncology at one of the busiest and most prestigious nonprofit academic veterinary hospitals in the country, the Animal Medical Center in New York City. While there, he worked hard to develop broad clinical skills but also received encouragement from some of the best minds in veterinary and human cancer research to extend his skills into the research field. "It was exciting. The work was compelling, the people with whom I worked were the best in their field, and I met some wonderful clients and patients," Dr. Page said. He also met and married Susan, his wife of 25 years, who was then working as an editor at MacMillan Publishing. Dr. Page was approached by North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine in 1984 to join a group of professionals charged with implementing a unique and ambitious plan for a new comparative oncology research program. In collaboration with Duke University Medical Center and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the shared research would benefit both veterinarians and physicians treating patients with cancer. The North Carolina Animal Cancer Program remains one of the top veterinary cancer programs in the country.
"It was a phenomenal professional experience, being able to interact with talented clinical and scientific colleagues at NC State, Duke, Chapel Hill, and other research centers that were devoted to building this program," Dr. Page recalled. "The programs at NC State and CSU developed very much in parallel during that time." The program at North Carolina State was so successful that, when Cornell University decided to expand its cancer research program, Dr. Page's name was at the top of the list. Cornell planned a campus wide cancer research program that would include research groups from each college, including the clinical program in the College of Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. Page became the founding director of the Sprecher Institute for Comparative Cancer Research. The institute's mission is to "seek to control cancer in all species" and to "develop new discoveries for clinical application, provide treatment for animals with cancer, and produce educational materials about cancer and our environment for professional and nonprofessional audiences."
One of the programs developed at the institute, which he is most proud to have contributed to, was the Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factor Program. This program was developed to assist women with the evaluation of cancer risks related to environmental exposures and lifestyle choices and then, in an innovative approach, to communicate the findings directly to the public through a variety of mediums, including informative workshops, newsletters, fact sheets, web-based content, DVDs, and podcasts.
Throughout his career, Dr. Page stayed in communication with his former teachers and colleagues at Colorado State University. So, when the opportunity arose to return to Colorado and Colorado State University as Director of the Flint Animal Cancer Center, Dr. Page felt he not only possessed the leadership qualifications but also understood the vision and the values at its core.
"Dr. Page brings the experience, knowledge, integrity, and respect of the profession to steer the Flint Animal Cancer Center to even greater achievements," Dr. Withrow explained. "I have known him for almost 30 years. I have always been proud to call him my professional colleague, adviser, and friend."
Welcome home, Dr. Page.