Executive Director of the Alice and Carl Kirkland Cancer Center
Story by Lyda Kay Ferree, The Southern Lifestyles Lady. Photography by Woody Woodard.
Gina Stanfill Myracle is a resident of Lexington, Tennessee. Prior to being named Executive Director of the Kirkland Cancer Center, she served as the Administrator of Medical Center Home Health for two years. Other previous roles include Occupational Health and Wellness, Sales and Marketing, and Cardiac Rehabilitation.
She has an associate degree in nursing from Union University.
Her credentials, honors, community and professional associations with which she is affiliated are too numerous to list. A former board member of the American Cancer Society, Mid-South Division Inc., she now serves as a volunteer.
She is a graduate of WestStar, Class of 2006, and she is a member and past president of the Jackson Rotary Club.
Myracle has been married to Dudley Myracle since 1980, and they have two daughters—Molly Britt, an RN, and Flight Nurse with Hospital Wing, she is married and has two children; and daughter Allison Cummins, who has a Masters in Education, is married, living in Germantown, TN., and has one son. Dudley is a Relationship Manager with First Bank in Lexington. Gina and Dudley are active members of First Baptist Church in Lexington. Her hobbies are her children and grandchildren.
VIP: When did the Kirkland Cancer Center open?
Gina Myracle: We broke ground in August of 2012 and opened our doors to the first patients in December of 2013 for radiation therapy, and January of 2014 for chemotherapy. 2015 was our first fully operational year after phasing services into the center.
VIP: What are your chief duties as Executive Director of the Kirkland Cancer Center?
GM: My chief duty is to serve as a liaison between the hospital system and the physicians, staff and patients at the Cancer Center. Of course, those duties do change from day to day.
VIP: What are the most challenging aspects of your work at the Kirkland Cancer Center? Do you get emotionally involved in patient care?
GM: I think we have to be emotionally involved in patient care. Everybody does at every level when working at a Cancer Center. If not, you are in the wrong profession. That’s one of the things I love about the job. I still get to be involved with patients and to get to know them, too. Overall the most challenging aspect is the constant change in cancer care. Our oncologists are so knowledgeable, staying on top of current data and research. Patients have more access to cancer information today, both true and untrue, and the oncologists are open to answering questions.
VIP: Do you have a pharmacy on site?
GM: We have an infusion pharmacy where chemotherapy and other drugs are mixed that we give the patients in the building. We also have a retail pharmacy on the first floor where patients can get their prescriptions filled related to their diagnosis which we are treating that they take home. We want patients to leave the center with the treatment and supportive drugs that they need. More chemotherapy and related treatments are given orally now than in the past.
VIP: What are the Cancer Center’s hours?
GM: Our hours are 7:30 am-5 pm Monday through Friday. Some treatments may last longer than 5 pm, so we have patients in the building later.
VIP: What is the procedure for a patient’s admission?
GM: They must be referred by their primary care physician or a specialist to one of our Center oncologists for cancer or a blood disorder. The Cancer Center physicians recommend their treatment plan. We also see patients in our infusion area for other types of chronic disease.
VIP: Is it an emotional challenge for you to work daily with cancer patients and their families?
GM: Emotional yes, challenging on most days, but not in a negative way. People who work in oncology generally do not leave, believing this work is a calling. Oncology has one of the lowest turnover rates in the healthcare system. They get involved with the patient. Patients always remember their nurses, therapists, and physicians from the Cancer Center.
My work has become much more personal to me over the last year because my 35-year-old daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer. Being a caregiver beside my daughter on this journey definitely changed my perspective. She is doing well, completed treatment last May, and my prayer is she never has to go through it again.
VIP: How many people does the Kirkland Cancer Center employ?
GM: We have about 130 employees, volunteers and physicians in the building every day.
VIP: What projects are you and your staff working on at present?
GM: Dr. Eugene Reese graciously donated $1 million dollars to renovate our infusion pharmacy and to add robotic technology in the preparation of chemotherapy. We will be the only infusion pharmacy in the state of Tennessee to have this technology.
VIP: On a lighter note tell me about the value of the concerts and visits by musicians in the Jackson Symphony at the Center. How often do they occur?
GM: We have a couple of musicians from the Jackson Symphony who visit weekly. They perform in waiting areas of our building, and they go through the chemotherapy area and take requests from patients. The patients who have the privilege of being there on the day they perform love seeing them. It’s very uplifting for everyone! On a personal note, they played a Disney-themed song for my daughter during her first treatment, and she recorded it to play for her eight-year-old daughter to show her what she got to hear while receiving treatment.
VIP: What are the primary goals of the Kirkland Cancer Center?
GM: Our primary goal from the time we opened the doors until now is to provide very high quality, compassionate care to our cancer patients. Patients can receive, in most circumstances, the same treatment here in Jackson that they would if they traveled to another city across the state. We want to be the very best Cancer Center that we can be.
VIP: Is there a research center at the Kirkland Cancer Center?
GM: We do have research staff. Although we are not considered a research center, we want to be able to offer clinical trials for patients if they qualify when needed.
VIP: What services are offered at the Kirkland Cancer Center?
GM: Food in the Bistro or café (a grab and go café, which is great for caregivers sitting with patients and our staff eats here as well); shopping in Inspirations, a boutique for everyone; and services such as certified fitters assisting breast cancer patients with appropriate prosthetics and nutritional supplements for those who need them. Many other supportive services for patients are offered.
VIP: Describe a typical day if there is such as Executive Director at the Kirkland Cancer Center.
GM: I can’t look at my calendar and really match any day. I deal with building issues, operational concerns, financial reimbursement and administrative duties. There is not a typical day. But I always have a list of things to do.
VIP: Looking down the road in the next ten years or so, what changes would you like to see at the Kirkland Cancer Center?
GM: Our volume increased more rapidly than we anticipated. We really thought we were building for 5-10 years. We are well into capacity now. So we are looking for things that we can do to be able to serve more patients. Also, due to drug research, more targeted and individualized therapy is being offered, with more extensive lab work and genetic testing. For example, today we know to look for certain genes and mutations in tumors, but we know in the future more things will be identified in the molecular makeup of cells. The Cancer Center will have to change with the current treatment and technologies as they are available.
VIP: Is there physical space for you to expand on your current site?
GM: Not additions with our current building, but we are looking at efficiencies and other ideas. We have a Leadership Council made up of oncologists and hospital administration who meet monthly to plan, set goals, and look for improvements.
What to Know
Alice and Carl Kirkland Cancer Center
720 West Forest, Jackson, TN 38301