UNMC Cancer Center Director Steps Down

The man who helped spearhead the effort to turn the University of Nebraska Medical Center into an international powerhouse for cancer care and research will step down as director of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center and the Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer at the end of June 2019. 

Dr. Ken Cowan joined the medical center in 1999 and will remain as a full-time faculty member and will continue to see patients. 

“What an incredible run it has been,” says UNMC Chancellor Dr. Jeffrey Gold “Dr. Cowan has been a visionary leader who elevated our cancer programs to new heights and was instrumental in building a world-class program. I can’t thank Ken enough for everything he has done." 

Under Dr. Cowan’s direction, all cancer researchers throughout the campus were united into a larger single entity. Originally, this entity was called the UNMC Eppley Cancer Center and it is now called the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. 

Under Dr. Cowan’s leadership, the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center moved from a basic laboratory cancer center to become one of only 70 cancer centers to earn the National Cancer Institute designation, and the only NCI-designated cancer center in Nebraska. 

Over the past two decades, more than 200 faculty have been recruited to the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center and research funding has increased more than three-fold from $19 million in 1999 to more than $60 million in 2018. 

 Dr. Cowan said he will never forget his nearly 20 years as director.    My wife and I have fallen in love with Omaha and the state of Nebraska. We had no idea what we were getting into,” he said. “To see the philanthropic support that manifested itself when we were building the new cancer center was just unbelievable.  When we travel around the state, we get to see first-hand how important the cancer center is to the citizens of Nebraska. It is a source of pride for the entire state." 

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