Highlighting the Top 10 Moffitt Stories of 2021

By Staff Writer - December 17, 2021

Many hoped we would move past the COVID-19 pandemic this year, but 2021 proved to be just as challenging. Moffitt Cancer Center still made incredible strides throughout the year. Read on to see what we accomplished. 

Top 10 Stories of 2021 

Nurse administering COVID vaccine to team member
Moffitt held a robust COVID-19 vaccine clinic throughout the year for patients and team members.

1. It takes a village to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to hundreds of health care workers and cancer patients a day. The success of Moffitt’s own vaccine clinic is a collaborative team effort by leadership, nursing, pharmacy, informatics, IT, environmental services, occupational health, human resources, scheduling and more. The clinic has administered first, second, third and booster shots for over a year. 

2. Over the next 10 years, Moffitt anticipates a 65% increase in patient volumes and a 33% increase in cancer surgeries. Moffitt is nearly at full capacity and we are working on ways to enhance access for patients to receive critical cancer care. We’re building a new hospital on our McKinley campus that’s slated to open in 2023. The 10-story, 500,000-square-foot facility will have 128 inpatient beds with the capacity to expand to 400. It will also feature 19 operating rooms, 72 perioperative rooms, three MRI scanners, three CT scanners and two nuclear cameras.

rendering of Moffitt expansion hospital
The new hospital is scheduled to open in July 2023.

3. Another way Moffitt can better meet patients where they live is through our expansion efforts. In February, Moffitt at Wesley Chapel opened on the campus of AdventHealth. The 28,000-square-foot building features 20 exam rooms, 22 infusion chairs, three blood draw stations, two linear accelerators and a CT simulator. Moffitt is also looking to develop 775 acres in Pasco County at the Suncoast Parkway and Ridge Road Extension in Land O’ Lakes. This first-of-its-kind campus will house patient care, research, biotech, wellness, digital innovation and more.

4. Moffitt has been a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center for 20 years and is the only one based in Florida. The designation recognizes the depth and breadth of cancer research at Moffitt and must be renewed every five years. The process involves a peer-reviewed grant application with more than 2,500 pages, and this year, Moffitt received its highest score ever.

5. In May, six years after being at the forefront of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, Moffitt treated its 500th patient. CAR T reengineers a patient’s own immune cells to fight cancer. T cells are removed and modified to help identify, attack and destroy cancer cells. The reengineered T cells are then infused back in a single treatment.

6. In October, the FDA approved TECARTUS for adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Moffitt’s Dr. Bijal Shah was instrumental in the approval of this CAR T-cell therapy that takes a patient’s T cells and genetically modifies them with an antibody to recognize the leukemia.

7. Moffitt is No. 3 on DiversityInc’s Top Hospitals & Health Systems List, our highest ranking ever. It's a testament to our diversity and inclusion education and training, cultural and linguistic competency, language services programs, community outreach and education efforts and supplier diversity.  Over the past year, Moffitt delivered more than 5,000 hours of diversity and inclusion training to team members, and its in-house language services team has completed more than 6,200 patient encounters.

headshot of William Gholston
William Gholston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defensive End

8. It Works! founder Mark Pentecost is being treated for multiple myeloma at Moffitt. That’s why he and his family have donated $10 million to create the Pentecost Family Myeloma Research Center at Moffitt. The goal is to find a cure for multiple myeloma within the next 10 years. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end William Gholston watched his mother battle breast cancer and lost his father to lung cancer. To make a difference and honor his parents, he donated $225,000 to Moffitt’s George Edgecomb Society, which is focused on eliminating cancer health disparities among communities of color.

9. Health care heroes were treated to free tickets to Super Bowl LV in Tampa where the home team defeated the Kansas City Chief 31-9. Among 25,000 fans at Raymond James Stadium were 7,500 health care workers including many from Moffitt. Nurse Michelle Rau, who has Tom Bradycardia, was surprised with a free ticket live on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

10. While navigating another year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Moffitt carefully weighed whether to hold community events. The Mole Patrol was back at Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach on July 31, screening over 200 people for skin and head and neck cancers. In November, Miles for Moffitt presented by AutoNation returned in person in downtown Tampa, raising $1.1 million for cancer research. More than 7,000 people participated in person or virtually forming 360 teams. 


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