New Mexico has received another prestigious ranking that puts the state's cancer treatment programs among the top in the nation, providing renewed hope for our citizens affected by cancer. The July 17 issue of U.S. News & World Report ranks UNM Hospital (UNMH) and The UNM Cancer Research & Treatment Center (CRTC) as one nation's 50 best cancer hospitals.

Only three percent of the nation's 5,200 hospitals reviewed by the journal passed the rigorous review criteria to be ranked as one of "America's Best Hospitals" in 16 specialty areas. Evaluation criteria for the exclusive ranking include the quality of treatment programs, the outcomes of cancer patients treated at the institution, the availability of state of the art technologies and treatments, the quality of nursing and supportive care programs, and the institution's clinical research, teaching, and training programs.

"Coming on the heels of our designation last year by the National Cancer Institute as one of the nation's top 60 cancer centers, we couldn't be more thrilled for this acknowledgement of the truly outstanding quality of our programs," said Dr. Cheryl Willman, director & CEO of the UNM CRTC. "We have worked so hard to bring outstanding physicians, nurses and scientists to New Mexico to serve our state. All of our staff and patients really deserve a round of applause. We truly believe that all New Mexicans deserve state of the art cancer care here in our home state, surrounded by their friends and families who love and support them," Willman added.

The ranking comes at an exciting time at UNMH and the UNM CRTC. The designation of the CRTC as the 61stNational Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Center in September 2005 catapulted them into the ranks of the nation's premier cancer centers. NCI cancer centers provide outstanding cancer treatment, conduct research to discover the causes and develop cures for cancer, and disseminate cancer education, screening and prevention programs to their surrounding communities. The UNM Children's Hospital expansion will provide new and improved facilities for children's cancer programs.

In early 2007, UNM will break ground on a new 195,000 sq ft, $83,000,000 ambulatory cancer treatment facility that promises New Mexicans access to the newest, most promising, and effective cancer treatments. "We are building for our future and we look forward to providing access for all New Mexicans to the highest quality of fully integrated hospital and ambulatory cancer treatment," said Steve McKernan, CEO of UNM Hospital.

The UNM CRTC, formed by the New Mexico State Legislature in 1971 as the official cancer center of the state, is New Mexico's largest team of cancer specialists, with 62 cancer physicians who provide care to over 3,000 newly diagnosed cancer patients each year. Over 100 scientists at the UNM CRTC and its affiliated research institutions (The Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, New Mexico State University, and Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories) are supported by over $45 million in annual funding to discover the causes of cancer and develop better means to diagnose and treat the cancers that preferentially affect the citizens of New Mexico.