Vice President, Lahey Health Cancer Institute
It’s often the people who work behind the scenes that make a big impact. People with cancer who come to Lahey for care may never meet Linda Weller-Newcomb, PhD, but they certainly benefit from her talents.
Linda is vice president for the Lahey Health Cancer Institute (LHCI), which includes Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, Beverly Hospital, Addison Gilbert Hospital, Winchester Hospital, and the Lahey Medical Center Peabody. She plays a strategic role in developing Lahey Health’s oncology service line and has direct operational control of cancer services at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center and at Lahey Medical Center Peabody.
Her undergraduate and graduate studies focused on psychology and organization development, but it was employment with a hospital oncology practice that launched her path in cancer services, as she went on to build and enhance cancer-related services at major medical centers in Michigan, Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada, Colorado, Kansas, and ultimately at Lahey, where she has worked since 2013.
“My passion is in cancer care, because I know it’s for the greater good,” she says. “It’s rewarding because you always know you’re acting in service to patients, as well as providers and staff. In cancer care, patients are on a survivorship journey. Everyone at Lahey Health is respectful of patients and their individual values and goals. Patients really are at the center of all we do.”
Linda has had increasing responsibilities in large, complex health systems, managing strategic planning, operations, physician recruitment, and capital planning, as well as building joint venture relationships, constructing new cancer centers, and achieving accreditations.
Among Linda’s strengths is bringing together teams to work cooperatively for the good of patients and providers. Since LHCI is comprised of the talents and resources of premier community hospitals, Lahey’s multidisciplinary model of care was a perfect fit for her.
She is also experienced at measuring quality and finding ways to improve services. One of her goals was to standardize work practices at LHCI so that every patient has the same excellent experience at whatever Lahey Health facility is most convenient for them to use. As a result, Lahey facilities are participating in Medicare’s ground-breaking demonstration project to reengineer cancer care, The Oncology Care Model.
Another focus for Linda is cancer survivorship, since care at LHCI does not end once cancer treatment is completed. Lahey offers a range of survivorship programs, such as physical, psychosocial support, and occupational rehabilitation, to improve patients’ health and quality of life while meeting their individual goals.
“Building and working with a cohesive team system-wide is gratifying,” she says. “At Lahey facilities, the doctors are highly collaborative, working in a clinic model. They are committed to doing what’s best for our patients medically, socially, emotionally, and psychologically. Our doctors don’t just treat disease, they treat the whole person.”
Linda continues her work with commitment and enthusiasm at the national level as well, impacting policies and accreditation standards. She was the first non-MD to chair the Accreditation Committee of the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer, a position she held for 6 years. She also is the past president of the Association of Cancer Executives (ACE) and is a current board member of ACE and chair of the Marketing and Communication Committee.
Linda is a national and international lecturer on cancer care, policy, and programming, and she is the author of the book, “Coping with Cancer: A Patient Pocket Book of Thoughts, Advice, and Inspiration for the Ill.”