Banner – University Medical Center Tucson earns NPF Center of Excellence Designation

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Banner – University Medical Center Tucson has been recognized as an approved National Pancreas Foundation Center (NPF) of Excellence by the National Pancreas Foundation. Banner – University Medical Center Tucson earned clinical and academic Center of Excellence designations for both pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis.
The designation is awarded after a rigorous audit review to determine that an institution’s focus is on the multidisciplinary treatment of pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis, treating the “whole patient” with a focus on the best possible outcomes and an improved quality of life.
The pancreas is a large gland behind the lower stomach that produces insulin and digestive enzymes. There are about 62,000 U.S. cases of pancreatic cancer cases each year, according to the National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute. Early pancreatic cancers often do not cause any signs or symptoms. By the time they do cause symptoms, they have often grown very large or already spread outside the pancreas. Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, can be a devastating disease significantly impacting quality of life in patients who are affected.
“We are honored that our hospital has been recognized as a leader in treatment of pancreatic cancer,” said Sarah Frost, CEO Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and Banner – University Medical Center South. “Earning this official national recognition will help us create further awareness that outstanding, caring and innovative pancreatic treatment is available right here in Tucson.”
“We are thrilled to expand our NPF Centers of Excellence Program to better serve the needs of patients suffering from pancreas disease,” said David Bakelman, CEO of the National Pancreas Foundation.  “The NPF Centers of Excellence Program is one of the pillars of NPF, and we are looking forward to working with our current and new Centers.”
An approved NPF Center has to meet the criteria that were developed by a task force made up of invited subject matter experts and patient advocates. The criteria include having the required expert physician specialties such as gastroenterologists, pancreas surgeons, and interventional radiologists, along with more patient focused programs such as a pain management service, psychosocial support and more.
“My colleagues and I are very proud of this achievement,” said Taylor Riall, MD, co-director of oncology services at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and associate director of oncology services at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, a department of Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, who led the team working to gain the center of excellence designation. “This award is certainly validation of our entire team’s commitment in the delivery of excellent patient care.”  
For more information about the National Pancreas Foundation, please visit