Lung cancer and health disparities expert named director of VCU Massey Cancer Center

Robert Winn, M.D., a pulmonologist and cancer researcher, will start at VCU Dec. 2.

Robert Winn, M.D. [View Image] Robert Winn, M.D., an expert in lung cancer and community-based health care, will start at VCU on Dec. 2. (Courtesy photo)

Robert Winn, M.D., has been named director of Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center. Winn, an expert in lung cancer and community-based health care, will start at VCU on Dec. 2.

Winn comes to VCU from the University of Illinois at Chicago where he has served as director of the University of Illinois Cancer Center and as associate vice chancellor of health affairs for community-based practice at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Science System. At UIC, he built a community-to-bench integrated health model that brings together both the discovery and implementation sciences into one health delivery and research system, and he oversaw the research and clinical activities of 13 Federally Qualified Health Centers.

“Dr. Winn is a passionate leader with vision, compassion and a commitment to service,” said Marsha D. Rappley, M.D., senior vice president for health sciences at VCU and CEO of VCU Health System. “His depth of experience and talent as a leader, physician, researcher and mentor will enable him to build upon Massey Cancer Center’s long-time and far-reaching success. 

Prior to joining UIC, Winn spent 13 years at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and School of Medicine in a variety of leadership roles and clinical faculty appointments, including associate dean of admissions, vice chair of career development/diversity inclusion and senior medical director of the pulmonary nodule clinic. 

“Massey’s mission to relieve suffering and death from cancer is perfectly aligned with my own values and priorities,” Winn said. “I am incredibly impressed with the cancer center’s research, clinical and educational programs as well as the collaboration that Massey fosters across VCU, VCU Health and beyond to discover, develop, deliver and teach effective means to prevent, detect, treat and cure cancer. Also, Massey’s commitment to ensuring equal access to cancer care is deeply important to me.”

An accomplished physician-scientist, Winn is a pulmonologist whose scholarship has focused on lung cancer, health disparities and community-based health care. His basic science research, which has been supported by multiple National Institutes of Health and Veterans Affairs Merit awards, focuses on the mechanisms that drive the proliferation of cancer and on the role of cellular senescence in lung cancer. He is a principal investigator on several community-based projects funded by the NIH and National Cancer Institute, including the All of Us Research Program, a NIH precision medicine initiative. He is committed to developing methods to eliminate health disparities, and he has received national and international acclaim for his efforts to empower underserved patient populations, improve health care delivery and ensure equal access to cutting-edge medical treatments.

Winn holds a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and an M.D. from the University of Michigan Medical School. He completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center in Chicago and a fellowship in pulmonary medicine and critical care at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. 

Winn replaces Gordon Ginder, M.D., who has served as Massey’s director for 22 years and announced his desire to step down last summer after leading the cancer center to earn many national and international accolades. Massey is Richmond’s only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center and Virginia’s first, and it is among the top 4% of cancer centers in the country to earn this prestigious designation.

About the VCU Massey Cancer Center

VCU Massey Cancer Center is among the top 4 percent of cancer centers in the country to be designated by the National Cancer Institute to lead and shape America’s cancer research efforts. Working with all kinds of cancers, Massey conducts every form of cancer research, including basic science, translational, clinical and population sciences research; provides state-of-the-art cancer treatments and cutting-edge clinical trials; serves as a vital resource for oncology education, teaching and training; and promotes cancer prevention. Since 1974, Massey has been an internationally recognized center of excellence. Massey provides award-winning cancer care at multiple sites throughout Virginia by leading cancer sub-specialists and offers one of the largest selections of cancer clinical trials as well as a statewide network that brings trials to communities across the commonwealth. Its 1,000-plus researchers, clinicians and staff members are dedicated to improving the quality of human life by discovering, developing, delivering and teaching effective means to prevent, detect, treat and ultimately cure cancer. Visit Massey online or call 877-4-MASSEY for more information.

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 30,000 students in 233 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Twenty-two of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges. The VCU Health brand represents the VCU health sciences academic programs, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Tappahannock Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, and MCV Physicians. The clinical enterprise includes a collaboration with Sheltering Arms Institute for physical rehabilitation services. For more, please visit and