Peter W.T. Pisters, MD, MHCM, Named Sole Finalist in Search for President, MD Anderson


The University of Texas System Board of Regents has selected Peter W.T. Pisters, MD, MHCM, as sole finalist for the position of president at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

The regents voted unanimously to select Dr. Pisters at a special board meeting on Friday, August 25. An announcement was issued from The University of Texas System later that day. The decision by the Board of Regents followed an executive session where regents interviewed several candidates in person and considered recommendations from a presidential search advisory committee that reviewed nominations and applications for the position.

Proven Leadership

Dr. Pisters currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of University Health Network in Toronto. Prior to his appointment at University Health Network in his native Canada, Dr. Pisters served as a cancer surgeon, researcher, professor, and administrator—with 20 years of that time spent, from 1994 to 2014, at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

He also served as Medical Director of MD Anderson’s six regional cancer centers, Clinical Consultant for the Center for Global Oncology (now known as MD Anderson Cancer Network), and Section Chief for Sarcoma Surgery with a specialty focus in the management of sarcoma and gastrointestinal cancer patients.

Accolades and Awards

Dr. Pisters was honored with several awards while at MD Anderson earlier in his career, including two Fellows Outstanding Teacher Awards and two Faculty Excellence Awards. His wife, Dr. Katherine Pisters, is a thoracic medical oncologist who also worked at MD Anderson.

“MD Anderson is focused every day on one singular goal,” UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven said. “Identifying the right leader for this celebrated national treasure—one that inspires hope in people around the world—is a monumental decision, and I believe we have found that leader in Dr. Pisters. As a known and admired former faculty member and administrator, Dr. Pisters can transition smoothly and help MD Anderson move forward very effectively.”

“MD Anderson is home to the best and brightest in cancer care and research, and I am confident that Dr. Pisters will foster and build upon the institution’s unique, dynamic environment of compassionate care, breakthroughs, and discoveries. Dr. Pisters is deeply respected as both a strategic executive leader and a world-class physician,” Regents Chairman Paul Foster said. “My profound gratitude goes out to the members of the search advisory committee, including Regents Janiece Longoria and David Beck, for the many hours they contributed to help us make this critically important decision.” 

Education and Training

Dr. Pisters is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario’s Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry. He completed his internship and residency at New York University School of Medicine Center–Bellevue Hospital and also holds a master’s degree in health care management from Harvard University. Dr. Pisters was with Department of Surgical Oncology, Division of Surgery, at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York from 1985 to 1992.

The search for a new leader began earlier this year when Ronald DePinho, MD, announced he would be stepping down as president. Marshall Hicks, MD, will continue serving as interim president of MD Anderson until Dr. Pisters’ appointment as president is finalized by the Board of Regents. Under state law, university governing boards must name finalists for a presidency at least 21 days before making an appointment.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.