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About Us

VA’s National Oncology Program (NOP) stands shoulder-to-shoulder beside the 56,000 Veterans who are diagnosed and treated for cancer each year. NOP is guided by best-in-class leaders in oncology, who are committed to providing high-quality care to Veterans. Through the management of complimentary programs and the strength of our talented staff, NOP walks with Veterans on every step of their cancer journey.

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Our Mission

To improve the lives of Veterans with cancer through precision medicine by implementing a learning healthcare model that quickly transitions new knowledge into clinical practice and to maximize learning from clinical practice.

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Our Strategy

To ensure that Veterans have easy access to reliable, excellent cancer prevention, detection and treatment services.

From NTO that provides cancer care to rural Veterans, to our highly advanced pharmacogenomic testing, NOP is dedicated to exploring every innovation available for treating your cancer. When you choose VA for your cancer care, you are choosing an entire nation of dedicated providers who will meet you where you are.

Our Leaders

Dr. Michael Kelley

Dr. Michael Kelley

Executive Director, National Oncology Program

Michael Kelley, MD is Professor of Medicine at Duke University and Chief of Hematology and Oncology at the Durham VA Medical Center. As National Program Director for Oncology for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. Kelley directs policy and program development that affect the more than 56,000 Veterans diagnosed with cancer each year in the Nation's largest integrated health care system. Dr. Kelley's clinical practice is focused on lung cancer and precision oncology and his academic interests are in molecular genetics, experimental therapeutics of targeted therapies, and outcomes research. Dr. Kelley is an author of more than 110 peer-reviewed primary research articles as well as reviews, book chapters, and numerous meeting abstracts. He is recipient of the US Public Health Service's Achievement Award, a member of the National Cancer Institute's Clinical Trials and Translational Research Advisory Committee and an ex officio member of the National Cancer Advisory Board.

Vida Almario Passero, MD MBA - Chief Medical Officer, National TeleOncology service

Vida Almario Passero, MD MBA

Chief Medical Officer, National TeleOncology Service

Vida Almario Passero, MD MBA is the Chief Medical Officer for the National TeleOncology service. In her role, she oversees the development and expansion of the National TeleOncology service to build subspecialty oncology teams and improve access to oncology care for Veterans. Dr. Passero attended Georgetown University for her undergraduate degree, medical school at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, her residency and fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and is affiliated with the National Cancer Institute through the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center where she remains as Associate Fellowship Program Director. In 2017, she received the VHA MyVA Access Improvement Grant and with the VA Pittsburgh and VISN 4 teams launched the VA Pittsburgh Multidisciplinary Virtual Cancer Care Network resulting in TeleOncology clinics in rural Pennsylvania. In the past two years, Dr. Passero was awarded the Alan Winkelstein Fellowship Teaching Award from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the Distinguished Leader Award from VA Video Connect. Dr. Passero is actively leading initiatives such as National Virtual Tumor Board and Close to Me which launches solutions for Veterans to receive their treatment closer to where they live.

Dr. Deepak Voora

Dr. Deepak Voora

Director, VA PHASeR Program

Deepak Voora, MD, is Associate Professor of Medicine at the Center for Applied Genomics & Precision Medicine at Duke University School of Medicine, cardiologist at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center. His research focuses on the discovery and translation of pharmacogenomic biomarkers to address the hypothesis that tailoring drug therapy based on genomic information can improve health outcomes. He has chosen some of the most commonly used medications used worldwide – antiplatelet and statin medications – for his research. As Director of the VA's HarmacogenomicS testing for VeteRans (PHASeR) program, he is leading the VA's implementation of preemptive, panel-based, pharmacogenetic testing to up to 250,000 Veterans.

Gina McWhirter, MSN, MBA

Gina McWhirter, MSN, MBA

Director of TeleOncology

Gina McWhirter, MSN, MBA, is the National TeleOncology service Director. Over her 13 years in VA she has served in various roles: Chief Nurse, Intensive Services, Chief of Education, Nurse Manager of Intensive Care and Outpatient Oncology/Infusion Clinic, Acting Chief Nurse of Behavioral Health, Quality Management/Utilization Review Nurse, Intensive Care Nurse, Oncology Nurse and Medical Surgical Nurse. She received a Master of Science of Nursing from Sacred Heart University and Master of Business Administration from Western Governors University. She has a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma and has served on multiple academic advisory boards for their schools of nursing. She is also a recipient of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing End of Life Care for Veterans Award. Gina is passionate about oncology care for Veterans and ensuring that they receive world class care regardless of their location or socioeconomic barriers.

Marvin Rydberg - Executive Director, Operations for Oncology and Precision Medicine

Marvin Rydberg

Executive Director, Operations for Oncology and Precision Medicine

Mr. Rydberg was appointed to this position on May 9, 2022. Mr. Rydberg is responsible for managing the coordination and implementation of complex VA and VHA Precision Medicine initiatives, projects, and programs that span health care policy, operations, public health, governance, and quality of care. As Executive Director, Operations for Oncology and Precision Medicine, Mr. Rydberg oversees the planning, design, development, and execution of Secretary and Under Secretary for Health initiatives. This includes advances in health care technology use, reduction of disparities in health care, and improved health care access for the Veteran population. Mr. Rydberg also leads the development and expansion of VA’s partnerships with external stakeholders in cancer care, to include the White House’s Cancer Moonshot.