Research administrator Raquel Sanchez has stepped into a new role within Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center as managing director of Global Oncology. Her new appointment became effective July 1.
Sanchez had been serving as the interim managing director of Global Oncology since November, and for the past 18 months she has also served as associate vice president for Research Administration and Faculty Affairs.
She brings approximately 20 years of research operations and management experience to her new role, in which she will support Seattle- and Kampala-based teams of approximately 70 faculty and staff, as well as provide strategic support to Global Oncology Head Dr. Hootie Warren and Deputy Head Dr. Tom Uldrick.
Upon announcing Sanchez’s new permanent role within Global Oncology, Warren said it has hard for him to describe what he appreciated most about her because she possesses so many qualities. “She is smart, capable, organized and efficient; she is a natural leader and has great emotional intelligence,” he said. “She is committed to the ideals of diversity, inclusion and empowering women … she is kind and compassionate. Above all, and perhaps most important, she believes deeply in the mission of Global Oncology and is committed to the success of the program — and to that of the Hutch more broadly.”
Global Oncology’s core activities are based in Uganda through a longstanding partnership with the Uganda Cancer Institute. The program is expanding its research to better understand, diagnose and treat infection-related and other high-burden cancers in low- and middle-income countries. With Ugandan partners, Fred Hutch built a world-class facility on the UCI campus which, since 2015, has greatly expanded research, training and patient-care capacity in sub-Saharan Africa.
After a recent visit to the facility, Sanchez said she felt “instantly connected” to the team there. “It was clear to me that the Hutch has built a truly collaborative partnership with the Uganda Cancer Institute, a stellar example of what building trust over time can accomplish,” she said. “I see great strides in cancer treatment possible in Uganda and am excited to be part of our journey together.”
Prior to coming to the Hutch, Sanchez spent 13 years in research administration at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where she helped build a world-renowned brain cancer program led by neurosurgeon/researcher Dr. Eric Holland. Holland was recruited to the Hutch in 2013 to lead its Human Biology Division and launch the Seattle Translational Tumor Research group. He brought members of his team with him from New York, including Sanchez, who initially served as senior operations director of the Human Biology Division and STTR before being promoted to associate vice president of Research Administration.
In the past year, Sanchez has been instrumental in launching a new cross-divisional initiative at the Hutch called Optimize to Innovate, or Opt-In, a collaborative effort between senior operations directors and research administration leadership in their support of research administrators who are driving new projects forward as they execute shared goals of optimally supporting the science.
Sanchez’s leadership and dedication to building high-performing, inclusive and collaborative teams has garnered her numerous honors, including features in Puget Sound Business Journal’s “Women Who Lead” and the Association of Latino Professionals Women in Leadership (2019), a Puget Sound Business Journal “40 Under 40” award (2017) and a Fred Hutch Administrator of the Year Award (2016).
She also serves on Fred Hutch’s Diversity Council and the Hutch United Advisory Board, and she chairs the board of Education Across Borders, a global health and education foundation.
Kristen Woodward, a former associate editor at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, had been in communications at Fred Hutch for more than 20 years. Before that, she was a managing editor at the University of Michigan Health System and a reporter/editor at The Holland Sentinel, a daily in western Michigan. She has received many national awards for health and science writing. She received her B.A. in journalism from Michigan State University.