John Ruckdeschel recognized by American Cancer Society with St. George Award

Dr. John Ruckdeschel, director of the University of Mississippi Medical Center Cancer Institute, was recognized for his lifetime body of work to eradicate cancer and his continuing support of the American Cancer Society (ACS).

He was presented the St. George National Award during a ceremony in Jackson.

“I am deeply honored by this award,” said Ruckdeschel, professor of medicine in the division of hematology and oncology. “The ACS has always been there for cancer patients and cancer research,” he said. “Working with them and for them has been one of the highlights of my career.”

Citing his 30-plus years of working with the ACS in multiple states, Ruckdeschel said the partnership furthers patient care. He commended the ACS for its work on the Gertrude C. Ford Hope Lodge in Jackson, currently under construction adjacent to UMMC. The Hope Lodge is scheduled to open in early 2019 and will provide rooms for patients being treated at Jackson-area cancer centers and their family members. Lodging and transportation to treatment are free.

Ruckdeschel is a medical oncologist with a focus on thoracic malignancies. A native of Rhode Island, he trained at Johns Hopkins, Harvard and the National Cancer Institute and then joined the faculty at Albany Medical College. He left to become the first CEO at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa.


Ruckdeschel came to UMMC in January 2017, as UMMC Cancer Institute director. His research, which focuses on lung cancer and patient-physician communication, has resulted in close to 200 peer-reviewed publications. He is preparing the cancer programs at UMMC to successfully attain NCI designation and, more importantly, to help lower cancer deaths for all Mississippians.


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