by Sean Ruck
, Contributing Editor | March 23, 2018
From the March 2018 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
HealthCare Business News recently spoke with Scott Warwick, the new executive director of the National Association for Proton Therapy to talk about his foray into the technology and updates on the sector. Here’s what he had to say.
HCB News: How long have you been involved with proton therapy efforts and how did you come to be the executive director of NAPT?
My background is clinical. I was originally a radiation therapist and then a certified medical dosimetrist before I moved into oncology administration.
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In 2008, I worked for Catholic Health Partners serving as the regional cancer service line leader for the Tennessee region and also headed up the oncology leadership network for the organization. During that time, the executive committee of the board had become interested in proton therapy. They asked me for an analysis and to present an executive summary on proton therapy to the board and that’s where I really first became knowledgeable about proton therapy.
Fast forward a year. I was still serving in that role, but had started working on a collaborative project with our physicians and through that met the founder of Provision who invited me to join their efforts to develop a world-class comprehensive cancer center in Knoxville, Tenn. Early on, I shared that proton therapy was an emerging technology and that we should take a strong look at offering the service in Knoxville. After performing an in-depth proton therapy feasibility study and experiencing some roadblocks with adding conventional radiation therapy, it was determined that Provision would seek the first Certificate of Need for proton therapy in the southeastern U.S., which was received in 2010. The center opened on time and on budget in January of 2014 and was the 13th center to open in the U.S.
While we were developing the center at Provision, I became aware of NAPT and realized it had an expansive knowledge base that we could greatly benefit from. The problem at the time was that NAPT only allowed operating members to participate. We were in the development phase, so I approached the association and made a pitch for the creation of an associate membership for developing centers. They ultimately agreed and Provision became the first associate member of NAPT. We were then able to learn from existing experts in the field in a very collegial atmosphere that still exists in the association today. Later on, I joined the board, and then ultimately served as the board chairman. When the executive director position opened last year, I had been working to expand access to proton therapy on a regional level while at Provision and saw this position as an opportunity to do the same, but on a national level.