Westmont Search Recruits COO for Chase Cancer Center

February 9, 2021 – Executive search firm Westmont Search placed Joel Helmke as the new chief operating officer for Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Managing partner Peter Blau led the assignment. Mr. Helmke will be in charge of directing clinical and business operations for Fox Chase. “By bringing industry best practices and new perspectives, he will help us refine our processes and enhance our facilities to match the talent and expertise we already have in our faculty and staff,” said Richard I. Fisher, president and CEO of the cancer center. “Such improvements will further advance the way we provide care to our patients and their families.”

Mr. Helmke joins Fox Chase from City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, CA, an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center where he served for nearly five years as senior vice president of clinical operations., managing an overall budget of $1.5 billion and a staff of 1,200 to oversee multiple programs. With more than 25 years of healthcare leadership experience, Mr. Helmke is familiar with hospital operations, ambulatory care delivery, service line development, physician practice management and research administration, having served at a number of other academic healthcare institutions. Mr. Helmke formerly served as system vice president of WellStar Cancer Network, an affiliate of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. While there, he completed a total revamp of the oncology service line governance structure, commissioned a full review of the cancer program market strategy and brand strengths, and managed and supported the partnership between the WellStar Cancer Network and the Mayo Clinic Care Network.

Prior to WellStar, Mr. Helmke spent 14 years at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he refined his experience in a variety of roles. Earlier in his career, he served at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Methodist Healthcare System in Houston and St. David’s HealthCare in Austin, TX. Mr. Helmke is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, a Six Sigma Executive Champion, and serves on the board of the Association of Cancer Executives.

The Hospital of Fox Chase Cancer Center and its affiliates (collectively Fox Chase Cancer Center), a member of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the U.S. Established in 1904, Fox Chase was one of the first cancer hospitals in the country.

Healthcare-Focused Recruiters

Westmont Search, located in Westmont, NJ, is a healthcare-focused executive search firm with a singular focus of hiring top health executives to continue to improve the healthcare system. The firm works with clients from university medical centers to rural health systems to multi-state managed care companies. The talent varies across the industry including finance, operations, information technology and management. Westmont Search has deep industry knowledge and experience.

Since 2006, Mr. Blau has been recruiting leadership for healthcare organizations. He works with both healthcare provider and managed care organizations throughout the U.S. Mr. Blau and the team have placed over 300 executives and professionals within healthcare organizations.

Recent Placements

Westmont Search recently placed Rhonda Kazik as the chief nursing officer for Essentia Health’s East market based in Duluth, MN. Most recently, Ms. Kazik was the system chief nursing officer at Community Health Systems in Fresno, CA. She has also held executive nurse leadership roles at the Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare and the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics.

Westmont Search also recently placed Cindy Bacskai as vice president of talent management at Essentia Health. Most recently, Ms. Bacskai was the vice president human resources business partner of Advocate Aurora Health in Milwaukee. Essentia Health is a network of 13 hospitals, 69 clinics, six long-term care facilities, three assisted living facilities, three independent living facilities, five ambulance services and one research institute.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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