Saint Joseph Mercy Health System receives $19.3 million grant to lead Michigan Cancer Research Consortium

ANN ARBOR – Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS), a member of Trinity Health, and its Michigan Cancer Research Consortium (MCRC) have been awarded a grant for $19.3 million as part of the National Cancer Institute’s Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP), a national network of organizations that provide cancer care to diverse populations in community-based health care practices across the United States.  This award is one of the largest federal grants that Trinity Health has ever received and places Dr. Philip Stella, the principal investigator, as one of the top funded cancer researchers in the state of Michigan.

After a highly competitive process, St. Joe’s MCRC was selected as one of 34 community sites across the country to receive the 6-year NCORP grant enabling patients throughout the 13-hospital consortium, spanning three states, to participate in leading-edge clinical trials offering access to the most advanced cancer treatments available in the country. St. Joe’s is a national leader in personalized medicine with trials that use promising targeted agents based on the genomics of the patient’s tumor as well as the latest immunotherapy trials available. In addition, trials evaluating advances in the latest surgical and radiation techniques and methods to reduce the side effects of cancer treatments are evaluated through the NCORP research.

The MCRC, led by St. Joe’s, is participating in the latest cancer care delivery research to examine the most effective and efficient methods of delivering cancer care, including how to overcome lack of access in some underserved communities.

“For patients to be able to take part in the highest quality research treatments right in their own communities is a tremendous opportunity,” said Philip Stella, MD, principal investigator, Michigan Cancer Research Consortium, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System.  “At the same time, we are assisting the National Cancer Institute to increase their access to real world health care delivery in the community, where the majority of cancer patients receive their care.”

Once again, the Michigan Cancer Research Consortium grant application received an impact score in the “exceptional” range, which demonstrates the strength and breadth of its oncology research program and recognition by the National Cancer Institute as one of the leading research institutions in the country.

“We have built a great research program to help ensure access to the latest trials for the communities that our consortium serves. With access to more than 100 research trials, patients can be assured that they will get the latest treatments from the NCI and other major cancer centers without having to leave their homes and families. This grant will supplement and expand the leading-edge research being done at St. Joe’s as we help develop tomorrow’s breakthrough treatments while offering hope for today,” said Beth LaVasseur, RN, MS, Executive Director of Oncology and Research, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System. 

Participating locations include:

St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor* 

St. Joseph Mercy Brighton* 

St. Joseph Mercy Canton* 

St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea* 

St. Joseph Mercy Oakland* 

St. Mary Mercy Livonia*

Mercy – Springfield Massachusetts* 

and all the Michigan Cancer Research Consortium hospitals including:

Sparrow Health System- Lansing

St. Mary’s of Michigan – Saginaw 

St. John Hospital and Medical Center- Detroit

St John Macomb- Oakland Hospital- Warren

Genesys Hurley Cancer Institute- Flint

Lehigh Valley Health Network- Pennsylvania 

*denotes a Trinity Health hospital

For more information including a list of current clinical trials, call 734-712-3671 or visit

About Saint Joseph Mercy Health System

Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS) is a health care organization serving seven counties in southeast Michigan including Livingston, Washtenaw, Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Jackson, and Lenawee. It includes 537-bed St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, 443-bed St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, 304-bed St. Mary Mercy Livonia, 136-bed St. Joseph Mercy Livingston in Howell, and 133-bed St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea. Combined, the five hospitals are licensed for 1,553 beds, have five outpatient health centers, six urgent care facilities, more than 25 specialty centers; employ more than 16,200 individuals and have a medical staff of nearly 2,700 physicians.   SJMHS has annual operating revenues of about $1.9 billion and returns about $120 million to its communities annually through charity care and community benefit programs.

SJMHS is a member of Trinity Health, a leading Catholic health care system based in Livonia, Michigan, with operations in 22 states. Trinity Health employs about 129,000 colleagues, has annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion, assets of $26.2 billion, and returns about $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs

For more information on health services offered at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, please visit