Mission and History
Our mission is to combine the strength of hope with the power of science, one patient at a time.
To deliver patient-centered, comprehensive, and compassionate care in community cancer centers using best practice, state-of the-art therapies and research, in order to be the premier provider of care for patients with cancer and blood disorders in the region.
- Provide clinical excellence and exceptional service, one patient at a time
- Treat ALL with respect in every interaction
- Commit to personal and organizational accountability and integrity
- Demonstrate teamwork and collaboration
- Be a good citizen
Minnesota Oncology…then and now
Community Cancer Care for the Twin Cities
At Minnesota Oncology we are proud of our history as innovators – bringing a community-based, integrated cancer care model to the Twin Cities area…and our ongoing dedication to continuing advancements in the treatment of cancer.
More than 40 years ago, the early seeds of what is known today as Minnesota Oncology, were planted on both sides of the Mississippi river. Dr. John Brown entered practice on the west side in 1964 as the first formally trained oncologist in community practice in the state of Minnesota, and his colleague and future practice partner, Dr. Irving Lerner, was the first physician formally trained in medical oncology to enter private practice in Saint Paul in 1967. Back then it would have been difficult to visualize how the care of cancer patients would change over the course of the next 45 years.
It is truly remarkable to think how far we have come since then – when we were all practicing individually, but could see the benefits of synergy by joining as one community-based practice. We held many dinner meetings over a number of years before it began to come together – first we shared office space, and later we became partners. ~ Burton Schwartz MD
The first joint practice of oncology on the Minneapolis side of the river was Oncologic Consultants, formed by Dr. John Brown, Dr. Ignatio Fortuny, and Dr. Burton Schwartz. In 1985, Dr. Mark Sborov and Dr. Margaret MacRae joined this group and opened the first suburban oncology practice, located in Edina on the campus of Fairview Southdale Hospital.
During the same time period on the Saint Paul side of the river, Dr. Lerner with Dr. John Wangsness started Saint Paul Internal Medicine, while Dr. Lewis and Dr. Michael Lobell formed Saint Paul Hematology and Oncology, and were later joined by Dr. Ken Caldwell and Dr. Rodger Johnson. Dr. John Savage was also practicing gynecologic oncology in Saint Paul at that time.
In the mid-90s, Dr. Schwartz approached the three Saint Paul oncology groups, and in 1995 one metropolitan practice known as Minnesota Oncology Hematology, P. A. (MOHPA) was formed. These physicians were destined to become leaders who would help establish the framework for the specialty community cancer care that Twin Cities residents know today.
Growing to Serve
Minnesota Oncology’s history reflects healthcare in general, in that small has had to become large to provide effectively for an ever more sophisticated and demanding patient base in a climate of limited financial resources.
In 1996, the physicians of MOHPA entered into a long-term management services arrangement with a practice management company based in Texas, now US Oncology. Practice leaders sensed the nascent need to link arms with dedicated oncologists and hematologists across the nation – to participate in establishing standards of care, increase access to clinical research trials, attract the most qualified physicians, and maximize practice efficiencies by sharing data and fine-tuning best practices.
Over the course of the past decade, the intent and purposes of this affiliation have been fully realized.
With the rising cost of healthcare and diminishing resources, it is important for practices to band together to assure access to the very latest evidence-based care, while maximizing practice efficiencies based on the shared knowledge of affiliated practices – Tom Flynn, MD, Practice President
The research capability of US Oncology affiliates has made it possible for the network to contribute to the development of many of the latest cancer-fighting drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use.
The Integrated Care Model
Our practice includes specialists in medical oncology, radiation oncology, hematology, gynecologic oncology and thoracic surgery – as well as on-site laboratory services and access to our specialty oncology care pharmacy.
Treating the Person, Not Just the Disease
Our full circle of care includes access to assistance such as:
- Social work and patient advocacy
- Nutrition therapy
- Patient financial counselors
- Educational classes
- Support groups
- Nurse navigators
- Survivorship program
- Angel Foundation
Caring, Down to a Science
In order to make the practice more easily recognizable in the community, a brand identity change was undertaken in 2009, changing our market brand name from MOHPA to Minnesota Oncology. Our new company logo and tagline represent the science of cancer treatment, as well as the emotional, educational, financial and practical assistance we offer to our patients and their families.
A Bright Future
In recruiting new physicians and staff, Minnesota Oncology works with the leading fellowship programs in the country including the Mayo Clinic and University of Minnesota.
In 2008 our comprehensive integrated cancer center opened on the campus of United Hospital in Saint Paul, in partnership with Allina Hospitals & Clinics, Minnesota’s largest healthcare provider. Our collaboration with Allina grew in 2009 with the acquisition of the oncology programs at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids and Unity Hospital in Fridley.
In 2013 Minnesota Oncology added a clinic at WestHealth in Plymouth, expanding our northwest metro presence. And in August 2014, we opened our Chaska Clinic in the Lakeview Professional Building, bringing comprehensive cancer care to the southwest metro.
With over 70 providers – physicians, physician assistants and certified nurse practitioners – now practicing in 11 clinic locations across the greater Twin Cities metro area, Minnesota Oncology is the largest independent oncology practice in the state of Minnesota.