“As discoveries continue to accelerate, we recognize that understanding the interaction between cellular biology in relation to the changes that occur within the tissue is essential.”
– HEATHER MCARTHUR, M.D., M.P.H.
As Clinical Director of the Breast Cancer Program at UT Southwestern Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, Heather McArthur, M.D., M.P.H., is responsible for overseeing clinical care of breast cancer patients within the UT Southwestern Health System. She also specializes in breast cancer research and has pioneered several clinical trials.
“My primary role is to actualize our vision, fostering high-quality clinical care and research not just for breast cancer, but across all disciplines conducting basic science and clinical research,” Dr. McArthur says. “We’re forging ambitious, multidisciplinary partnerships within the institution to drive our Center’s successful growth.”
Simmons Cancer Center’s mission includes optimizing access to patient care and providing patients the opportunity to participate in clinical trials. Dr. McArthur’s role is central to this mission.
Dr. McArthur, who joined Simmons Cancer Center in 2021, is internationally recognized for her research on innovations in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. She has been a principal investigator on various national and international clinical trials and a pioneer in developing novel immunotherapy strategies.
She earned her medical degree at the University of Toronto and completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of Calgary. She received advanced training through a medical oncology fellowship at the University of British Columbia and an advanced clinical research fellowship in breast cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
She also holds a master’s degree in public health from Harvard University.
Recasting the Mold for Breast Cancer Research
“An important aspect of our breast cancer research program is how we integrate basic science with clinical knowledge. In particular, we want to understand how cellular processes at the molecular level are driving disease processes at the macro level,” Dr. McArthur says. “As discoveries continue to accelerate, we recognize that understanding the interaction between cellular biology in relation to the changes that occur within the tissue is essential.”
Dr. McArthur is also excited about the generational impact of training future cohorts of researchers and clinicians. At the heart of improving education for both basic science and clinical trainees is the need to increase their exposure to different disciplines and to focus educational initiatives on delivery of patient-centered care.
She adds: “At Simmons, all of our providers engage in shared decision-making with patients to discuss treatment preferences and clinical trial options – this is how we serve our patients best.”
Heather McArthur, M.D., M.P.H., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at UT Southwestern and Clinical Director of the Breast Cancer Program at Simmons Cancer Center, where she is also a member of the Experimental Therapeutics Research Program.