MCV Physicians Distinguished Clinician Award

Dr. Harry Bear is the Walter Lawrence, Jr., Distinguished Professor in Oncology, Chairman of the Division of Surgical Oncology,and Professor of Surgery and Microbiology and Immunology. He is also Chair of the Massey Cancer Center (MCC) Protocol Review and Monitoring Committee and Director of the Breast Health Center. He received both his M.D., and his Ph.D. from VCU and completed his surgical residency at what is now the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Dr. Bear returned to VCU for his Surgical Oncology Fellowship and joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor – he has been on the faculty for 31 years.

Dr. Bear is particularly known for his pioneering efforts in breast cancer, and other breast disease, care and research. He has served on the Board of Directors of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) group for more than 20 years, and has been Study Chair for two of this group’s international breast cancer trials. In 2009 he received the NSABP Foundation Distinguished Investigator Lifetime Achievement Award. He has advanced the care of women with breast cancer through the use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy allowing for more opportunities for breast conservation.

Dr. Bear has a long record of NIH/NCI funding , and is the local principal investigator for most of MCC’s current breast cancer clinical trials. He is also co-principal investigator on a Minority-Underserved NCI Community Oncology research program grant which will provide $4.4 million in funding over fi ve years to support clinical trials at VCU and community partner sites. Dr. Bear was awarded a US patent (US8741642 B2) in 2014 for Methods for Producing Autologous Immune Cells Resistant to Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells Effects. With over 160 peer reviewed articles and over 100 abstracts, his work has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Surgial Oncology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, and other prestigious journals.

Despite this extremely productive research program, Dr. Bear is known as an enthusiastic teacher and mentor, and for promoting a colleagial and supportive environment, whether teaching medical students or leading his clinical division colleagues.

“From a clinical perspective, Dr. Bear is a caring physician who is devoted to providing the best evidence-based care for patients,” states Giao Q. Phan, M.D. FACS, Associate Professor, Division of Surgical Oncology. Colleague Brian Kaplan, M.D., Professor of Surgery, describes Dr. Bear as “one of the go-to clinicians regionally for the treatment of breast cancer. He is always referred tough, complicated cases. His decision making ability to bring perspective to seemingly unsolvable problems is uncanny.” Dr. Bear has received Richmond “Top Doc” recognition many times, as well as the “Patient’s Choice” Award twice, and was named among “America’s Most Compassionate Physicians” in 2013.

Dr. Bear is committed to the training of the next generation of physicians. Colleague Amelia Grover, M.D., FACS, Associate Professor , Division of Surgical Oncology, comments on Dr. Bear’s dedication to teaching, “He is the program director of our surgical oncology fellowship, reviewing each appllication every year since I have been here. Under his leadership we attract a strong group of applicants and are able to fi nd the best fi t for our program. He also teaches the residents and students in the operating room. He meets weekly with the M3 students on our service and provides a comfortable and welcoming environment where they can ask questions and develop a passion for the care of our surgical oncology patients.”

For his dedication to excellence in clinical care, service to VCU and his profession, and innovative research yielding discoveries that improve patient care, Dr. Harry Bear is the MCVP Physician of the Year.