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Northwell Health Cancer Institute appoints three clinical leaders

A patient checks in at Northwell’s Department of Radiation Medicine at the Center for Advanced Medicine.
A patient checks in at Northwell’s Department of Radiation Medicine at the Center for Advanced Medicine.

Cancer Institute expansion marked by new deputy physicians-in-chief roles.


The Northwell Health Cancer Institute has revamped its clinical leadership structure as part of an expansion of services, appointing three deputy physicians-in-chief to lead medical, surgical and radiation oncology across the 23-hospital health system.  

  “These leaders will oversee disease management teams in medical, surgical and radiation oncology throughout our entire cancer network in New York City, Long Island and Westchester County, aligning directly with regional and hospital cancer leaders within their respective disciplines,” said Richard Barakat, MD, physician-in-chief and director of the Northwell Health Cancer Institute, and senior vice president of the health system’s Cancer Service Line

 The new team structure will improve the integration of Northwell’s cancer services throughout the region, and lead to further expansion. All of the oncology leaders will report directly to Dr. Barakat.

New cancer leaders

Wasif Saif, MD, MBBS, who joined Northwell on January 7 from Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA, was named deputy physician-in-chief and director of medical oncology at the Northwell Health Cancer Institute.

Matthew Weiss, MD, who is currently at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, MD, was named deputy physician-in-chief and director of surgical oncology. He will join the Cancer Institute on February 19.

 Louis Potters, MD, who has served as chair of radiation medicine at Northwell Health since 2007, was appointed last June as deputy physician-in-chief and lead of radiation oncology at the Northwell Health Cancer Institute. 

“Using a new organizational approach with reporting lines directly to deputies, our new clinical leaders will help us elevate Northwell’s standing as a premier destination for cancer care that treats more New Yorkers than any other health system or hospital in the metropolitan area,” Dr. Barakat said.

An accomplished team

Dr. Saif joins the Cancer Institute after serving as director and gastrointestinal oncology program leader for Tufts Medical Center’s Experimental Therapeutics Program, where he revised clinical program structures, established the platform for phase I and II studies, and led interdisciplinary meetings and clinics.  He is an internationally known clinical and translational researcher focusing on gastrointestinal cancers. At Tufts, he received the school’s Notable Teaching Award.
Prior to Tufts, Dr. Saif held leadership roles at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and New York Presbyterian Hospital, Yale and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His research focuses on the molecular biology, early detection and treatment of gastrointestinal malignancies, as well as the treatment of gastrointestinal (GI) and pancreatic cancers. He has been conducting multiple national and international clinical trials, including innovative translational studies on pharmacogenetic and pharmacodynamic components that were among the drugs approved by the US Food & Drug Administration for treating GI cancers. He has published over 500 peer-reviewed publications and serves on the editorial board of multiple oncology journals. He received his medical degree from King Edward Medical College in Lahore, Pakistan, and his medical oncology training at the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Weiss is a specialist in surgery for liver and pancreatic diseases, as well as hapatopancreatobiliary diseases.  Prior to accepting his deputy physician-in-chief position at the Cancer Institute, he served in several leadership roles at Johns Hopkins, including chief of hepatopancreatobiliary surgery, surgical director of its Liver and Pancreas Cancer Multidisciplinary Clinics, and director of the Complex General Surgical Oncology Fellowship Program. He is a frequent speaker at national and international meetings.
Widely published, Dr. Weiss has received several grants to pursue and execute numerous clinical trials. He began his career as a research technician at Thomas Jefferson University and has worked in roles with progressive responsibilities at organizations such as the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Massachusetts General Hospital and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). He is a member of the American College of Surgeons, the Society of Surgical Oncology, the American Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association, the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract and the Association for Academic Surgery. He completed a research fellowship in immunology at Massachusetts General and two fellowships at MSKCC, one in surgical oncology and the other in HPB surgery.
While at Northwell, Dr. Potters has expanded radiation oncology by introducing new treatment modalities that have enhanced quality and the patient experience. He is internationally recognized in managing and treating prostate cancer, and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and editorials.

 Dr. Potters has held leadership roles for the American Society of Radiation Oncology and consulted for the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the National Quality Forum and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. He has also served as an executive committee member for the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer program and several US Department of Health & Human Services’ committees and panels. At Northwell, Dr. Potters is immediate past chair of the Northwell Health Physician Partners Board of Governors Executive Committee. He is a professor at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and a fellow of the American College of Radiology.

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