Leigh Cantrell, MD, Appointed Oncology Service Line Leader

January 10, 2024 by

UVA's Leigh A. Cantrell, MD, MSPH

Leigh A. Cantrell, MD, MSPH

After an extensive national search, Leigh A. Cantrell, MD, MSPH, has been selected to serve as our next Oncology Physician Service Line Lead, effective Feb. 1. Dr. Cantrell will succeed Michael E. Williams, MD, who is retiring after more than five years in the role.

As physician service line lead, Dr. Cantrell will be responsible for optimizing cancer-related missions across the UVA Health enterprise. Guided by the health system’s 10-year strategic plan and in partnership with Oncology Service Line Administrator Blake Herring, she will focus on clinical innovation, service line growth, and championing the highest quality patient care to make UVA Health the best place to give and receive cancer care in Virginia.

Dr. Cantrell brings a breadth and depth of experience to the role that includes:

  •  Medical Director, Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center Ambulatory Clinic (since 2018)
  •  Interim Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (and currently Executive Vice Chair of the department)
  • Residency Program Director, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (2013-2023)
  • Interim Division Director, Division of Gynecology Oncology (Feb. 2022-Jan. 2023)\

From 2011-2023, she also served as the Robotic Users Group Chair, during which time she led UVA Health’s growth from two robotic systems to seven, and from 12 surgeons to more than 30, and was instrumental in the initiation of the transplant robotics program.

Dr. Cantrell’s research interests are focused primarily on robotic surgery, a topic on which she has published extensively. Currently, she is the institutional principal investigator for a trial evaluating robotic versus open radical hysterectomy for cervix cancer. She also is involved in several multi-disciplinary projects across grounds to evaluate the teaching, learning, and safety of robotic surgery.

On a national level, Dr. Cantrell serves on multiple committees of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Society for Gynecologic Oncology and Council for Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology (CREOG). This includes being a national Board Examiner and serving as one of five faculty in the CREOG Residents as Leaders and Teachers program.

Dr. Cantrell joined UVA Health in 2010 and since has gained expansive insight into our organization — from operations to hospital and academic administration to graduate medical education and mentorship — skills that further position her for success as our next Oncology Physician Service Line Lead. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Cantrell and welcoming her to this new leadership role.

We extend our gratitude to Dr. Williams for his extraordinary leadership of the oncology service line and his years of distinguished service at UVA Health. Dr. Williams began his career at UVA as a resident and fellow, joining the faculty in 1986 and building a model career as an academic physician. His accolades include numerous contributions to education, research, and clinical care. He twice served as Chief, Division of Medical Oncology, in addition to his service line role. Dr. Williams has made innumerable contributions to oncology care and research during his time here. We are grateful for his steadfast commitment to UVA Health and our patients and wish him well in his retirement.







Filed Under: Clinical, Faculty