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About ASTRO

Thomas J. Eichler

Thomas J. Eichler

Chair

Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute, Richmond, Virginia

EDUCATION

  • MD, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia, 1987.
  • Extended Studies Program, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, 1981-1983.
  • Biology Major/Pre-Med, LeMoyne College, Syracuse, New York, 1975-1977.
  • BA, American Studies, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, 1974.

POSTGRADUATE EDUCATION

  • Board Certified, Radiation Oncology, ABR, 1993.
  • Residency, Radiation Oncology, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia, 1988-1992.
  • Internship, General Surgery, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia, 1988.

HOSPITAL APPOINTMENTS

  • Medical Director, Radiation Oncology, Thomas Johns Cancer Hospital, CJW Medical Center, Richmond, Virginia, 2002-2015.
    • Staff physician, 2015-present.
  • Associate Medical Director, Bassett Healthcare, Louis Busch Hager Cancer Center, Cooperstown and Herkimer, New York, 1999-2002.
    • Medical Director, Radiation Oncology, Southside Regional Medical Center, Petersburg, Virginia, 1992-1999.
      • Staff Physician, Radiation Oncology, St. Mary’s Hospital, Richmond, Virginia, 1992.

SERVICE TO ASTRO

  • Member, Health Policy Committee, 2004-present.
    • Member, ASTRO Board of Directors: Health Policy Council Vice Chair/Chair, 2013-2017.
    • Co-Chairman, Health Policy Committee, 2009-2013.
    • Member, Code Development and Valuation Subcommittee, 2008-present.
    • Member, Coding Guide Workgroup, 2007-2010.
    • Chairman, Payment Systems Committee, 2006-2011.
    • Member, Regulatory Committee, 2004-2010.
    • Mentoring Program: “The Evolution of the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule,” 2008.
    • Chairman, LCD Workgroup, 2004-2006.
  • Member, Government Relations Committee, 2003-present.
    • Advocacy Day participant, multiple years, including the inaugural event in 2004.
    • Member, ASTRO PAC, 2003-present. Chair, 2017-present.
    • State Captain, Virginia, State Captains Initiative, 2008-present.
    • Grassroots “Activist of the Year”, presented at ASTRO Annual Meeting, 2008 and 2009.
    • Member, FDA Subcommittee, 2005-2006.
  • Member, Communications Committee, 2003-2008.
    • Chairman, 2005-2007.
  • Senior Editor, ASTROnews, 2011-2013.
    • Member, inaugural ASTROnews Editorial Board, 2009.
  • AMA CPT Editorial Panel Presenter, 2012.
  • AMA Relative Value Update Committee (RUC) Presenter, 2009.
  • Elected to ASTRO Nominating Committee, 2009, two-year term.
  • Member, ASTRO/ACR Practice Guidelines for IMRT Workgroup, 2008, 2011.
  • Member, Radiation Oncology Institute, 2007.
    • Founders Circle. Development Committee, 2008-present.
  • Member, Quality Steering Committee, 2007-2009.
  • Member, Corporate Relations Committee, 2007-2013.

SERVICE TO OTHER ONCOLOGY OR RADIOLOGY ORGANIZATIONS

  • Member, Clinical Practice Committee, American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
    • Member, Coding, Billing and Reimbursement Workgroup, 2012-2016.
  • Member, Health Policy and Economics Committee of the Commission on Radiation Oncology, American College of Radiology (ACR), 2009.
    • Member, ACR, Virginia Chapter, 2003-present.
  • Chairman, Multidisciplinary Cancer Committee, Thomas Johns Cancer Hospital, 2003-2013.
    • Program Recipient of the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, “Outstanding Achievement Award,” 2007.
  • Member, American Brachytherapy Society, 2003-2016.
    • Volunteer Faculty, Upstate Medical Center RTT Program, Syracuse, NY, 2000.
  • Member, Virginia Carrier Advisory Committee (CAC), 1995.
    • Radiation Oncology Representative, 1995-1998, 2003-present.
  • Chairman, Cancer Committee, Southside Regional Medical Center, 1995.
  • Founder, Southside Regional Medical Center Tumor Board, 1994.
    • Chair, Southside Regional Medical Center Tumor Board, 1994-1998.
  • Member, Fletcher Society, 1994.
  • Member, Mid-Atlantic Society of Radiation Oncology (MASRO), 1993.
    • President, 1998-1999, 2002-2004; Vice President, 1996-1998; Secretary, 1994-1996.

SERVICE TO OTHER MEDICAL ORGANIZATIONS

  • Member, American Medical Association, 2011-present.
  • President, Chippenham and Johnston-Willis Medical Society, 2008.
  • Member, Medical Society of Virginia, 2002-present.
  • Member, American Cancer Society, Eastern Division, Herkimer, New York.
    • Special Award for Community Service, 2002; Medical Volunteer of the Year, 2001.
  • Member, Richmond Academy of Medicine, 1992-present.
  • Member (lifetime), Medical College of Virginia Alumni Association, 1992.
    • Caravati Service Award, 2002.

OTHER SELECTED VOLUNTEER WORK, EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES, INTERESTS, AND HOBBIES

  • Volunteer at FeedMore, local foodbank one morning/week.
  • Volunteer at Virginia Voice, reading to the visually impaired, 2 hours/week.
  • Founder of University of Notre Dame local Senior Alumni group, participating in numerous local volunteer activities.
  • Volunteer Physician, World Wide Village/University of Notre Dame in Léogâne, Haiti, May 2010.
    • Worked with team of MDs and RNs near the epicenter of the January 2010 earthquake.
  • Volunteer Physician, Crossover Care Ministry, 2008.
  • Member, Dr. Tom Dooley Society, Medical Alumni of Notre Dame, 2005.
    • Lifetime Member.
  • Volunteer, Haiti Healthcare Ministry, St. Michael Catholic Church, 2003.
    • Three trips to Dos Palais, Haiti.
  • Lector and Eucharistic Minister, St. Michael Catholic Church, 2003.
  • Elected to Pastoral Council, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Cooperstown, New York, 2001.
  • Notre Dame Alumni Service Project in Gary, West Virginia, 1998.
  • Member, Intercollegiate Athletic Council, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1993-1995.
  • Medical School Admissions Committee, Medical College of Virginia, 1990-1992.
  • Medical School Advisory Council, Medical College of Virginia, 1988-1991.
  • Member, Notre Dame Club of Richmond, 1984; Secretary, 1993-1997; publisher of “Alumni Newsletter”, 1993-1998; President, 1997-1999; “Award of the Year”, presented to outstanding local alumnus, 1999.

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES, INTERESTS AND HOBBIES

I am active in community theatre with a couple of professional gigs tossed in: The Music Man(Salesman #4, Farmer), February 2007; A Parish Home Companion (co-author and host), May 2008; Oklahoma! (Andrew Carnes), August 2009; Miracle on 34th Street (Kris Kringle), December 2009; Curtains (Sidney Bernstein), May 2011; The Odd Couple (Oscar Madison), August 2011; #4 Three Gables Run (Nicholai Romanowsky), part of the 26th Annual One-Act Play Festival, February 2012; Catfish Moon (Curley; professional), May 2012; The 13th of Paris (Jacques; professional), January 2013; It’s A Wonderful Life (“live’ radio broadcast, multiple roles), December 2014; Moon Over Buffalo (George Hay, professional), March 2016; Black Coffee(Hercule Poirot), November 2017; and radio theatre with the “On The Air Radio Players”: The Golden Age of Comedy (multiple roles), June 2008; Miracle on 34th Street (Kris Kringle), December 2008; The Thin Man (Nick Charles), February 2009; The Maltese Falcon (Sam Spade), June 2009; The 39 Steps (Cecil B. DeMille, the Professor), March 2011.

I am a passionate reader (fiction, history, biography), committed to reading the so-called 100 Greatest Books in History; an opera aficionado with an equal love for live rock ‘n’ roll; an amateur photographer and a budding voiceover actor. My wife and I enjoy travelling and exploring our world, with a particular fondness for Ireland. I collect baseballs signed by members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, as well as a slowly growing fine art collection that began in 1976. I enjoy cooking for dinner parties (seriously), exploring the world of fine wine and attending the theatre.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

I was born in 1952, the eldest child and only son of Jim and Ann Eichler, both now deceased. Three younger sisters, as well as an assortment of goldfish, dogs and cats filled out the family tableau. I was raised in a relatively strict middle-class household that was reflective of the ‘50’s where my father worked for the telephone company and my mother stayed home and raised the children. We lived in the arctic climes of Syracuse, New York, a place where winter never seemed to let go. I attended St. James elementary school under the thumb of the Franciscan nuns, and Christian Brothers Academy, guided by the equally disciplined Holy Cross Brothers. I played Little League baseball, CYO basketball, served as an altar boy and was an Eagle Scout.

My college years were spent at the University of Notre Dame where I earned a BA in American Studies in 1974. I delayed cutting the collegiate umbilical cord for a year and remained in South Bend, working as an orderly at South Bend Osteopathic Hospital. This was the first step towards a career in medicine. I enrolled at LeMoyne College in Syracuse in summer, 1975, while working at a local hospital, and slowly assembled the requisite science credits needed to apply to medical school. In 1977, I was awarded a Public Health Scholarship but died on the waiting list of a medical school on Long Island. In retrospect, this failure was the doorway to new opportunities and adventures.

Succumbing to a serious case of wanderlust, I sold my limited belongings and flew to Amsterdam to begin an 8-week hitchhiking adventure that covered over 4,000 miles and 12 countries. Upon my return to the U.S. in September 1978, I was invited by a childhood friend to join a fledgling theatre company in Dayton, Ohio. I learned “on the fly” and became the First Street Theatre Company’s stage manager, audio designer and part-time actor, experiences that have served me well over the ensuing years. I fell madly in love with Alison Milne in 1979, a freshly minted graduate of the University of Dayton. We moved to Washington, D.C., in January 1980, where I took a job as the Box Office Manager of the prestigious Folger Theatre Group. Alison and I were married in 1981 at which time I decided to take another shot at the dream of becoming a doctor. After knocking on the door for two years, I was admitted to the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond in 1983.

Following a surgical internship and radiation oncology residency in Richmond (and the birth of our only child, Benjamin, in 1991), I joined an established local group, Virginia Radiation Oncology Associates. I remained with VROA until 1999, when I was recruited away to the post card village of Cooperstown, New York, to join Bassett Healthcare’s Louis Busch Hager Cancer Center. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the hill, however, and after three especially long winters, I returned to Richmond and VROA as Medical Director for Radiation Oncology at the Thomas Johns Cancer Hospital, recently re-branded as the Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute. I served as President of VROA from 2006-2016 and relinquished the helm of the department in 2015. I scaled back my day-to-day clinical responsibilities considerably at the beginning of 2018 while maintaining active participation in numerous ASTRO endeavors.

The “Richmond Redux” chapter has been punctuated by re-visiting my love of the theatre and subsequently embarking on an acting career that I expect to keep me busy in retirement. It has also been an opportunity to expand my volunteer activities with ASTRO, culminating in the honor of running for President-elect.